Arvydas Sabonis on the war in Ukraine: “We can never believe the Russians again”

2022-03-12T14:15:29+00:00 2022-03-12T14:21:17+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

12/Mar/22 14:15

Lithuania basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis weighs in on the ongoing war in Ukrainian territory

By Johnny Askounis/

FIBA and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis discussed multiple issues stemming from the war in Ukraine, including Russia’s invasion itself.

“Never again in our lives can we believe these liars,” he told Lithuanian outlet 15min, translates Marca.

Sabonis, 57, back in his playing years represented the Soviet Union and captured an Olympic gold medal in 1988. After Lithuania restored its independence, he switched to the Lithuanian senior national team adding a couple of Olympic bronze medals in 1992 and 1996. Success in major FIBA tournaments also included two World Cup medals and four EuroBasket medals.

“A country of peace! Is there peace here? Bombing children and free people? I am speechless. I have no desire to communicate with them,” he expressed unwillingness to talk with Russians, “Statistics show that 70 percent of Russians support this war. Of course, I hope that this figure is much lower.”

Euroleague Basketball has suspended all games involving the three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams from Russia, CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan, and Zenit Saint Petersburg, until further notice.

“There is no doubt that the Russian clubs should be excluded from the EuroLeague,” mentioned Sabonis, a former president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation, LKF, “And it is difficult to say when they will be able to return. It is not clear what will happen with this war.”

Beyond Europe’s premier club continental competition, he predicted more similar issues to be dealt with moving forward.

“I have no idea how they could play sports together with them in the future,” he said regarding players and teams from Ukraine competing against Russian clubs, “It is difficult to imagine such a scenario. Now the Slavs are killing Slavs. Two Slavs attacked a Slav. It is cruel. Brother kills brother.”

Former teammate Sasha Volkov recently surfaced on social media with military gear, prepared to defend his home country against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sabonis noted that he had immediately contacted him after he saw Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on TV.