Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Šaruno Marciulionio Basketball Academy

Basketball to a Lithuanian is known as the second religion.  Australian Lithuanians also embraced the love of this sport, so much so that when a youth basketball team from Šaruno Marciulionio Basketball Academy came to Australia in 1990 it was a big deal. 

A boy’s youth team arrived in Adelaide on 11 March with their sponsors and Zita Mačiulionyte, Šarunas’ sister.  They arrived to Adelaide heat, maybe not hot for those who grew up here but coming from Lithuania the 35 degrees would have been felt.  Aged between 16-18 years the team played several games in Adelaide against the SA Sports Institute.  The first game was won by the Lithuanians by 4 points, 71-67. The second game held on the 13th at Seymour College which they won, 90-79.  The third and final game began poorly for the Lithuanians, being 14 points behind before they scored.  They pulled together and again managed to win 78-69.  The Lithuanians played a friendly match against Adelaide Vytis again winning.  Following the game, the players returned to Lithuanian house for a meal and camaraderie with the Adelaide community members.
On the 15th, Adelaide bid goodbye to the team as they caught a bus to Sydney. 
I can remember the tshirts and pendants given out by the players, orange and black featuring an eagle. Like the one below for the Academy’s opening in Vilnius.  The Academy is still running.
http://www.krepsinioakademija.lt


Š. Marčiulionis is one of the best Lithuanian basketball players of all time. He was a first player to go to the NBA from the Soviet Union, and one of the first European players to enter the NBA. Šarūnas is a cavalier of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Order of Vytautas the Great, and Order of the Badge of Honour.
 
 

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