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White Men Can't Jump?

I've been really enjoying what I can catch of the Olympics, but am now getting really excited about events I did not get to see - the games so far of the Lithuanian men's basketball team. 

This morning Lithuania beat China to win a spot in the semifinals, which means for sure a chance to play in a medal game. (Whether they can beat world champion Spain on Friday, will determine whether they play for Gold/Silver, or for Bronze). The team was not a medal favorite at the outset this time around, but is a perennial contender. They were 4th in Athens, and have three bronze medals since 1992 (the first year Lithuania competed since WW2). Lithuanian stars were also the core of the Soviet team that won the gold medal in 1988.

Oh, and an amusing little tidbit...Jonas Kazlauskas, coach of the China team, criticized the tactics of the Lithuanian team, which chose to double and triple team 7' 5" Chinese star Yao Ming. No, he's not Chinese...how did you guess? He's Lithuanian.

I just think it is too cool that a country of 3.5 million can excel consistently at a sport that is quite popular in much, much bigger countries! It's one of those fun little things about the Olympics.


Aug. 20th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, there are. Linas Kleiza plays for the Denver Nuggets (and was a Mizzou Tiger, RAH!). It is his third year in the NBA. And possibly the best Lithuanian player in the world today is Cleveland's starting center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who is not on the Olympic team. The Cavs will not let him play for Lithuania because he is plagued by injury problems as it is, without playing year-round. Several of the players play for elite European pro teams, as well.


starry night

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