To win is not enough: My life, my basketball
Sarunas Jasikevicius is one of the most recognizable players in the modern era of European basketball. He turned pro in 1998 and won 23 titles with his clubs (Barcelona, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce) plus 3 medals (a European gold, a European bronze and an Olympic bronze) with Lithuanian National team. He’s been the point guard everybody wanted to watch, every team wanted to sign, every fan dreamt to cheer for. He built his success with his amazing will to win: he was able to win in the athletes-era, while whe can consider him as an “average athlete” at his best. He didn’t won with his legs, he did it with his mind, his heart, his talent to become a better player year by year.
The book by Sarunas Jasikevicius (written with the italian journalist Pietro Scibetta) retraces the steps of an extraordinary life and career. It follows his arrival in the world of American basketball in college, to his return to Europe where he won National Championships and Euroleague, and then back to the States again to compete in the NBA. Finally, it recalls other successes in Europe right up to the end of his career as a player in 2014, with the Žalgiris Kaunas jersey. This opens the door to a new adventure for Sarunas, starting this year with his first experience on the bench as assistant coach for Kaunas.
The autobiography of a great champion, loved by fans all over the world, always able to leave an unforgettable memory in the heart of his fans. This book is a confession, a story, but also a tribute to the world of European basketball of which Sarunas was the undisputed star.
played in a more predictable way, because they did not have entire weeks to prepare against us, as the Greeks did. That final between Maccabi and Vitoria, to me, was the culmination of an incredible journey. Another Euroleague, the third one in three years, and this time having defended the title. Between games, many more Israeli fans arrived. I have no idea how they manage to get all those visas, cause it was weekend and embassy was closed, but there were many. We won big with a great first
to me, in the sense that they even apologized for the way things had gone. They are two great people, not just exceptional leaders. The so-to-speak “corporate” speech by Walsh was less romantic, “Ok, Sarunas, you’ve been traded to the Golden State Warriors; one of our staff will give you the details for the trip, you have to appear before your new team within 24 hours.” Talking about the NBA business, here it is. I was fine with it. It was what I wanted. The next day, I was in Oakland after
European offers that I would have considered if they had been really incredible. And they were. Olympiacos and CSKA were breaking the bank. Panathinaikos had just won the Euroleague, and the two clubs had good reasons to invest: Piraeus’ team wanted to beat their archrivals, and the Russians to take back the title they had lost in a beautiful final in Athens. Despite my reluctance, Maurizio was trying to push me toward Europe. Meanwhile, Olympiacos had hired Pini Gershon as a coach, and,
continued, “In my life, I have never fined a player one single euro, but I’ll give you the heaviest fine in the history of this club.” I decided not to tell him anything. I apologized and that’s it. He obviously had no use for my apologies. Obviously, we lost against AEK and Obradovic attacked me in the locker room in front of everyone. I called Maurizio and explained him the situation; things gradually subsided, but I went through very difficult days. He was furious; “Of course you lose the
before the end of the season came Gintaras Krapikas: the third head coach of a year that I imagined was certainly quieter, but instead turned into a circus. He knew Zalgiris inside out, since he had played with and coached the team; he is very well respected for his past feats with the National Team. Krapikas immediately realized that to improve the situation, he needed to simplify things; there was no time to build a complex system with so little time available. He put in check our American