|22 May 2012|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Siskauskas retired from international duty in 2008, ahead of most other members of Lithuania's golden generation|
There were many big and career-defining moments for Ramunas Siskauskas, who announced his retirement as a player on Monday.
He won titles with every team, be it for club or country.
Siskauskas played in the famous bronze-medal winning side of Lithuania that so nearly upset the United States at the Sydney Olympics.
In his six-year run with Lietuvos Rytas, he captured a pair of championships - in 2000 and 2001.
The 1.98m guard/forward climbed to the top of the EuroBasket 2003 podium in Sweden as a part of the high-powered Baltic side that beat Spain, averaging 14.8 points and 4.7 rebounds.
From 2004-06, he wore the Benetton Treviso shirt and continued to develop into one of the premier players in the game.
Each year that followed, Siskauskas got better and better.
What are the games most people remember him most for?
In 2007 in Athens, CSKA Moscow could't stop him when he was on the books of Panathinaikos.
He poured in 20 points in that memorable Euroleague final that the Greens won, 93-91.
Afterward, the coach of the Russian giants, Ettore Messina, called him the best small forward in Europe.
The very next season, Siskauskas was in the CSKA line-up, playing for Messina and helping fire the team to the Euroleague title in Madrid.
He would go on to capture more championships on the domestic front with CSKA and play in a couple of more Euroleague finals.
Four times Siskauskas was an all-Euroleague team selection and once, he was the league MVP.
Over the weekend, the 33-year-old Siskauskas had a big hand in CSKA's 10th consecutive Russian league title.
Forty-eight hours later and CSKA announced on their website that Siskauskas had decided to call it quits.
In a club statement, Siskauskas said: "It was not a sudden decision.
"I made my choice in the middle of the season. It was not connected with anything specific - I just feel I should stop."
LIFE AFTER THE NATIONAL TEAM
Siskauskas, immediately after Lithuania fell in an upset to Argentina in the bronze-medal game of the Beijing Games, announced his retirement from the national team but continued to play for CSKA.
| Siskauskas was one of the main reasons Panathinaikos defeated CSKA in the 2007 Euroleague final. He then joined the Russian giants and immediately rectified by leading them to the 2008 title |
He had wanted to go out in a blaze of glory with the Russian giants and almost did.
With his team clinging to a one-point lead in this season's Euroleague final, Olympiacos fouled him and put the veteran on the line with just under 10 seconds remaining.
He missed both free-throws, though, leaving the door open for Olympiacos to complete a miracle comeback from 19 points.
They did when Georgios Printezis scored with 0.7 seconds remaining.
The Reds won the title, leaving CSKA needing to win a Russian play-off championship against BC Khimki to finish the season on a high.
Siskauskas and CSKA swept Khimki, 3-0.
"I can only be excited about my career," Siskauskas said.
"God led me to numerous accomplishments though I started playing basketball late and I don't have any basketball school behind me.
"I was happy to play for several great teams, to win a number of titles.
"I am glad I was able to quit as a significant player, playing for such great team and organization as CSKA Moscow."
Siskauskas was a handful for every opponent he came up against.
He was strong, possessed a good vertical leap, a feathery touch and was hard to guard in one-on-one situations.
Andrey Vatutin, the CSKA president, had only positive things to say after the announcement of Siskauskas' retirement.
"Ramunas is the person I was always able to rely on, on and off the court," Vatutin said.
"His experience, tremendous skills, wisdom have become important parts of the CSKA success.
"Ramunas proved that he can do everything on the court, that he is able to solve any task by the coach..."
Vatutin added: "His unchanging calm and amazing friendliness helped maintain a warm micro-climate within the team.
"I sincerely wish Ramunas and his family to fully enjoy life after sport..."
And so does everyone else in basketball.