Not sure how he missed out on the cut the first time, considering how seminal an impact he's had in international play, but Arvydas Sabonis has made the Basketball Hall of Fame.
A good portion of us only began a familiar relationship with Sabas starting in his "rookie" NBA season of 1995-96. At age 31, Sabonis brought his all-around gifts stateside and to the Portland Trail Blazers, mostly after Achilles and knee injuries had robbed him of his once-superior athleticism. The injuries hadn't robbed him of his intelligence, clever ways with the rock, and scoring abilities, thankfully. Though the Blazers often looked the other way when he was calling for the ball (not to shoot, just trying to work a smart offense inside-out), Sabonis still averaged a Player Efficiency Rating of over 21 for his career.
An NBA career that lasted from ages 31 to 38, mind you. He was that good.
Before that? He was even better. Dig this video that showcases Sabas effectively making David Robinson, the greatest American center of his generation, look like an undersized power forward:
There's more, here, coupled with music that annoys me nearly as much as having to wait seven years to watch Arvydas Sabonis play basketball after the 1988 Olympics.
- Arvydas Sabonis
- Portland Trail Blazers