Friday , Aug , 15 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Young Arvydas Sabonis could handle Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, and Redeem Team USA

Live on national television, before a huddle, temperamental teammate Rasheed Wallace did his best Indiana Jones imitation and lassoed him with a white towel in front of the world. Talk about embarrassing. But this was life in the NBA for ‘The Victim’. Unfortunately, these incidents overshadowed his successful run with the Portland Trail Blazers and amazing European club and international career …

Young Arvydas Sabonis could handle Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, and Redeem Team USAIn the NBA, he was ‘The Victim’. Every playoff, he’d first get fouled and then dunked on by superstar Shaquille O’Neal. These no-calls helped propel L.A.’s dynasty.  

Abuse from opponents was one thing. Abuse from your own team was worse. Live on national television, before a huddle, temperamental teammate Rasheed Wallace did his best Indiana Jones imitation and lassoed him with a white towel in front of the world.

Talk about embarrassing. But this was life in the NBA for ‘The Victim’. Unfortunately, these incidents overshadowed his successful run with the Portland Trail Blazers and amazing European club and international career.

Of course, we’re referring to Arvydas Sabonis. Once upon a time –before broken knees, a heftier frame, and age caught up with him in the NBA- he was an overseas Shaq. Roles were reversed; the Lithuanian victimized opponents with a lethal mix of skill, athleticism, and passing.


(A great Sabonis mix with Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and other  tunes. Enjoy.) 

At 33 years old and on destroyed legs, he still averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game against NBA competition, so a younger Sabonis could certainly hold his own against Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, and Redeem Team.

For example, in 1986, he dominated the FIBA World Championship, helping the Soviet Union capture second place. Two years later at the Seoul Olympics, Sabonis led the USSR to gold by beating Hall of Fame post David Robinson and Team USA in the Semi-Final game.

(Sabonis running things at the 1986 FIBA World ‘Tournie’.)


(Sabonis and Russia against America in Seoul, South Korea. Their win would lead to USA Basketball instituting the Dream Team format.) 

The clips show a twenty-something Sabonis had the size and athleticism to battle down low with Bosh and possibly even Howard. But the mullet-rocking post had greater skill than both Americans, especially with his passing and ability to run half-court sets from the block.

A young Sabonis could hang with Redeem Team. Most importantly, he was far too great to be remembered as ‘The Victim’.

How would a younger Sabonis do against Bosh and Howard? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of permanently scatterbrained.