Live Chat Recap With Arvydas Sabonis: There Will Be Break Dancing
By caseyholdahl Posted in: arvydassabonis
I'll be honest, I didn't know how yesterday's live chat interview with Arvydas Sabonis was going to go. Between stories of his long-standing avoidance of the media and his 45 second speech at at the Hall of Fame induction, I didn't have incredibly high hopes of my ability to get a good interview out of him, especially live on the internet. Don't get me wrong, I was stoked to even have the opportunity to talk to Sabonis, but I wasn't going to get my hopes up as to the quality of said interview.
But as he's done so many times in his career, Sabas came through in the clutch. During the course of a 20 minute interview, most of which was comprised from questions from all of you faithful viewers out there, Arvydas spoke candidly on a whole range of subjects including playing against Shaq, being tired of basketball after his retirement, officiating and break dancing. It's worth watching, I promise, especially since it's impossible to convey Sabas' nuances in written form, but if you're short on time, you can read some of the finer points of the interview below.
Thoughts on returning to Portland
"I think I don't see changes too many. Just I like the weather, you know. August, I never been in August in Portland. Always from October to April or June, you know. There is always raining and now it is sunshine nice."
On selecting Bill Walton to introduce him at the Hall of Fame ceremony
"I don't choose him; he choose me. He decided to represent me and I am happy."
On how many European Player of the Year awards he had won
"I don't know. I don't count."
On whether he's surprised by the support he receives in Portland
"Look, eight years past, past eight years. When I come back (mimics people cheering) of course surprising. Oh no, you waiting. I'm surprised they remember me. And for me it's nice."
On not watching basketball for years after retiring
"Maybe I am tired of this. I don't know, maybe. If you don't want to see, it's for something, you know? Something you tired maybe. Now for me it's interesting to see a little bit, coming back… I come back to Portland after 8 years, maybe I come back to TV to look, look at basketball."
On the proliferation of European players
"I'm not so surprised. I think now coaches and the NBA, everybody start to believe in European players, and players playing here. Many years ago, not having confidence, not believing too much. There is problems, you know? Come, not many players, who come as good player, but sitting on the bench, you know. Like now too, many players come but sit on the bench. After one or two years coming back to Europe, you know, to play again. It all depending on coach and player."
On whether he was confident when he came to the NBA
"I come 30 year-old. I come just for see what is NBA. It's my last shot. Come to NBA or never come here. I come not thinking about what I do here. I mean, you know, I just come to try how is living inside here. That's it."
Was it the right choice?
"The best league, no questions. The best players. All organization is good. When I come I was 30 year-old but I'm rookie rookie. Everything is new. New country, new people, new organization. Everything you know, but I like it. The best."
On coming in second to Damon Stoudamire in the Rookie of the Year vote
"He's younger, a little bit (laughs)."
On whether he had a favorite player to pass to
"I don't have a favorite, you know. This guy is very easy, we understand, you know. Normally I always like when I have ball with somebody moving, you know. When you move you have chance to beat defender and take pass. I am hate when after good pass, missing you know. This is …"
Regarding the weight of his Hall of Fame trophy
"It is for real men's."
On whether the has any interest in coaching
"No. I think it's very difficult job. Nervous, you know. Not for me. Maybe with the kids maybe. Kids is different, you know. But with men, you know, I don't know."
Playing against Shaq
"It's difficult, difficult to play against him, you know. Very, very physically strong man. To defend him one-on-one is impossible. Need help, two guys. Two, yes, after depending on referees."
On whether he was treated fairly by the referees when playing against Shaq
"It's normal, you know. It's normal. It's impossible to call three calls in a row against me. No, it's impossible."
On poor refereeing during his playing days in Europe
"Sorry, but look, it's final of European Championship, yes. And referee from United States. What is this? Tell me. What he doing there?"
Advice he would give to centers in the NBA
"Now not too many centers like centers. Now it's more like, I don't know. Not to many players who play back (to the basket). More shoot, more run, more physical. In my times, centers is centers. You play there."
On break dancing during his youth
(as seen here
"Of course we… how is this (says something in Lithuanian to his wife) break? Break dancing. I don't remember, in 1985 and something. Break dancing. We of course young guys, something trying to do too… 20 years ago I am lighter."
Whether he still plays basketball
"Two times a week we play in, of course, one basket, with the friends, you know. For me is good. I need to do. One time minimum, one time a week."
Do your friends like playing with you? You must be tough to guard.
"I don't play center. I play guard. I play guard. I just shooting and passing."