By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the end of an era for the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, as one more of the league’s great left the courts. Paulius Jankunas who was a member of Zalgiris Kaunas for 19 years is leaving the sport as the all-time leader in rebounds.
Jankunas, however, will continue to be part of the European basketball scene. He is expected to be the new deputy general manager of Zalgiris Kaunas.
Per EuroLeague’s press release: Paulius Jankunas hung up his shoes on Friday night, retiring from basketball as one of the greatest players in Zalgiris Kaunas history.
Jankunas, 38, walks away from the game as the all-time leader in rebounds in EuroLeague history with 2,010 and as a legend for his hometown club. A native of Kaunas, Jankunas made his first team debut with the club in 2003-04, when he was a teammate of another Zalgiris legend, Arvydas Sabonis. He went on to play all but one of the next 19 seasons with the club; Jankunas suited up for Khimki Moscow Region in the 2009-10 campaign.
He is also the EuroLeague career leader in games played (392), ranked fifth in two-point shots made (1,011), eighth all-time in scoring (3,241) and tied for 13th in steals (250). Jankunas averaged 8.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in his glorious EuroLeague career.
Jankunas filled his trophy case over the years with a bevy of medals and awards. He was at the heart of the team’s run to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in 2018. He was named EuroLeague MVP for December 2017 and to the 2017-18 All-EuroLeague team. At home, Jankunas helped Zalgiris win 15 Lithuanian League titles: in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and every year from 2011 to 2021. He earned Lithuanian Finals MVP honors twice – in 2011 and 2014. Jankunas also led Zalgiris to nine Lithuanian Cups and four Baltic League crowns. With the Lithuanian national team, he won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup, a EuroBasket silver in 2015 and a EuroBasket bronze in 2007.