We just spent part of our summer looking back 20 years at the Dream Team with Jordan, Ewing, Magic, Bird, Barkley and on and on, and how that group changed the face of international basketball. Plus we had that silly debate about them and the 2012 team.
But the American Dream Team may not have been the best story from that Olympic basketball tournament in Barcelona.
A new documentary — “The Other Dream Team” — looks back at the 1992 Lithuanian team — a country that had just split off from Russia, a country that had no money to help its basketball program until the Greatfull Dead stepped in with money and tie-dye shirts. A country that had some good players still in Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis. A country that had to play Russia during the Olympics in maybe the most meaningful game in Barcelona.
I really can’t wait to see this entire documentary.
You remember Sonny Weems, right? Spent the couple seasons before this in Toronto, played for Denver before that. Like a lot of guys on the NBA fringe, he had a hard decision to make during the lockout and he decided to get paid and signed to play in Lithuania.
Where he was part of their All-Star festivities and won the dunk contest with a performance that likely would have won him the NBA dunk contest. If he comes back to the NBA next year, put this guy in it.
Thanks to Ball Don’t Lie for finding this, and for telling us that as the winner of the Most Impressive Player award during the games he won a refrigerator. Seriously.
Ty Lawson lashes out on twitter; adjusting to Europe not easy
Ty Lawson signed up to play in Lithuania while Billy Hunter and David Stern continue their ludicrous dance, the Nuggets point guard being one of the bigger name NBA players to jump overseas.
But the adjustment has not been easy. He wasn’t getting a lot of minutes and has not put up big stats while playing for Zalgiris Kaunas (he was averaging 9 points and 2.3 assists per game through three games in 19.7 minutes per contest). It’s a hard adjustment for NBA players over there — the style of play is different, the referees let a lot more fouls and physical play go, and that is on top of the cultural differences. Even he did get a signature free car it’s not easy.
Those tweets were followed by him getting in some twitter fights with fans of his Lithuanian team, with Lawson saying he’d smack a guy who didn’t think he played hard every game. He got a lot of racist tweets, too.
Then came the calls that he doesn’t like his coach, which his earlier tweets implied but Lawson denied.
Lawson also said he isn’t going anywhere. Well, not until Stern and Hunter finish their dance, anyway.
Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis stable after heart attack
Lithuanian news site Delfi.lt reports that former Portland Trail Blazers center Arvydas Sabonis suffered a heart attack while playing basketball Tuesday night. Spanish website Cadenaser.com reported soon after that Sabonis did suffer a heart attack but quoted Arturo Ortega, a representative for Sabonis, who said the center was “out of danger.”
One of the perks of playing in Europe is… well, the perks. The team provides housing, a car, covers the taxes on your salary. All sweet.
Lawson is playing in Lithuania and so he gets a car from the team — check it out. The ride may be a bit small, but that’s kind of how things roll in Europe (especially on streets that have been around for a couple hundred years before Henry Ford was born).