Sabonis Recovers From Heart Attack

28 September 2011
Basketball In Europe

By Jeff Taylor

EuroBasket 2011 Ambassador Arvydas Sabonis handing over the big shoes to step in for Eurobasket 2013 Ambassador Rasho Nesterovic
Arvydas Sabonis handing over the big shoes to step in for Eurobasket 2013 Ambassador Rasho Nesterovic during the EuroBasket 2011 Final.

Europe woke up to the news on Wednesday morning that Arvydas Sabonis is recovering from a heart attack.

The 46-year-old checked into a hospital on Tuesday night after playing a pick-up game of basketball in Kaunas and one of those to visit Sabonis and offer his support was Lithuanian Basketball Federation secretary general Mindaugas Balciunas.

"Yes, everything is okay," Balciunas said to Basketball World News.

"He's quite well compared to yesterday.

"Yesterday he had some problems with his heart, the heart attack, but not big.

"The heart doesn't hurt and he's fit, so it's a question of time when he'll be fully recovered.

"In one week, he will be released from the hospital and then will have some three weeks of rehabilitation."

Sabonis, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, had a very busy year helping Lithuania as they prepared for, and hosted the EuroBasket.

His official title was EuroBasket 2011 Ambassador.

A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and FIBA Hall of Fame, Sabonis travelled the world over.

He met with basketball fans and the sport's leading officials before returning home as the 24-team event was staged in his homeland.

Games were played in Panevezys, Siauliai, Alytus, Klaipeda, Vilnius and Kaunas.

"He was a big part of the EuroBasket," Balciunas said.

"His contribution was huge for the success in organization and communication, and of course on the sporting side.

"His inspiration was very important for players, for the coach and the entire nation. Here in Lithuania, he has a lot of respect, his history and that is why he's coming to help us in the federation."

Before the tournament, Sabonis announced his desire to serve as president of the LBBF and the heart attack, Balciunas says, has not changed anything.

Sabonis should take up the position on September 24.

"Yes, of course," Balciunas said.

"He's the only one and the best and no one can even be compared with him.

"He's very important, although today is not the day to talk about that.

"But his intention remains the same, to be the president of the basketball federation of Lithuania, to help Europe and world basketball to grow.

"This is a priority in his life."

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