The giant Arvidas Sabonis (2.21 metres [7-3], 127 kg. [280 lbs]) is considered the greatest big man ever produced outside of the United States. He began playing with the Soviet national team in 1981 and Indiana coach Bobby Knight immediately labelled him, “The best young player in the world.” With the Soviet team he won a gold medal at the 1982 World Championships and a silver at the 1986 World Championships. Sabonis was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth round of the 1985 NBA draft. That pick was voided and in 1986 the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Sabonis in the first round. But two Achilles’ tendon ruptures threatened his career in the mid-80’s. He rehabilitated the tendon in Portland but played only one major event in the late 80’s, that the 1988 Olympics at which he helped the Soviet Union to a gold medal. He later re-joined European professional leagues and played for Lithuania at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. For his size, Sabonis possessed superb basketball skills, being able to handle the ball well and even shoot three-pointers well. Sabonis eventually played seven years in the NBA, all with the Trail Blazers. He was twice the NBA’s European Player of the Year, but his leg injuries made him less effective than he had been in the early 80s.