Recognized as one of the best European players of his era, he won the Euroscar Award six times, and the Mr. Europa Award twice. He played in a variety of leagues, and spent seven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States. Sabonis played the center position and also won a gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea for the Soviet Union, and later earned bronze medals at the 1992 and 1996 games while playing for Lithuania. He retired from professional basketball in 2005.
Sabonis is considered one of the best big man passers as well as one of the best overall centers in the history of the game. Bill Walton once called Sabonis a 7’3″ Larry Bird due to his unique court vision, shooting range, rugged in-game mentality, and versatility.
On April 4, 2011, Sabonis was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and he was inducted on August 12, 2011. At that time, he was the tallest player to ever enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; one year later, he would be surpassed by 7’4″ Ralph Sampson.
Smallthoughts:Old School Tuesday spotlights: The big and rugged Big Man Arvydas Sabonis.