The head coach of BC Žalgiris, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, went off on a reporter who questioned his decision making when it came to allowing one his players, Augusto Lima, a leave of absence to attend the birth of his child.
Lima, a Brazilian center on loan from Real Madrid with the Lithuanian champions, was at the center of an interesting and perhaps educational moment in the Žalgiris post conference. Jasikevičius, a former NBA player and Euroleague star, was asked why Lima went to be at his wife’s side instead of being at the game against Neptunas, leaving in the middle of the playoff series (semifinal).
Jasikevičius answered by saying that he allowed it, because there’s nothing more important or better than having a child. He then goes on to lecture the reporter about the hierarchy of things, and comes off as a pretty swell human being.
Jasikevičius is into his first season as the Žalgiris head coach after being an assistant in the previous two. His team finished 10th in the Euroleague regular season, which is probably a bit better than projected initially. The 41-year old Jasikevičius played in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers, but is mostly famous for his achievements in European basketball, which include Euroleague championships with Barcelona, Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Panathinaikos, a gold medal with the national team in the 2003 Eurobasket and the bronze medal with Lithuania in the Sydney Olympics. He is the only player to win the Euroleague with 3 different clubs, and is widely considered as one of the best point guard ever in European basketball.
The Semifinal series between Žalgiris and Neptunas is at 2-1, with Neptunas narrowly winning game 2, which Lima did play in and left straight after it.. Zalgiris were way ahead of the competition during the regular season, going 33-3 before winning their quarterfinals series (best of 5) in 3 games.