Arvydas Sabonis on Ignas Brazdeikis: “He wants it, we will work to make him Lithuanian”

Photo: 12up.com

Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) President Arvydas Sabonis thinks that Ignas Brazdeikis could contribute to the national team and will make an effort to make him eligible.

The New York Knicks’ small forward, whose roots hail from Lithuania, will have to acquire Lithuanian citizenship before being able to represent the national team.

Based on Lithuanian laws, a citizen who receives a citizenship from another country automatically loses the Lithuanian one. That was the case with Bazdeikis as well. The most famous case is that of Zydrunas Ilgauskas who accepted the American citizenship at the end of his basketball career subsequently losing Lithuanian citizenship.

“It will mostly depend on the President, not on us. We will present the request. What is the possibility for him [Brazdeikis], who was born in Kaunas, to become a Lithuania – I don’t know. This time it’s difficult [laughs]. I imagine, if you are born here, it is not your homeland, but your birthplace.

It is important that he wants it. Because in the past there were other names, as an example – one’s parent wanted it [for their son to play for Lithuania national team], but he did not want anything at all. With Brazdeikis it’s different – he wants [it], that is why we will work to make him Lithuanian,” former Lithuanian basketball legend said in an interview to TV3.

The player himself has also stated he would like to represent Lithuania in future. Brazdeikis said in an interview back in January: “It would be great to represent my country, Lithuania. If I received a dual citizenship, it would open many doors to me and my family.”

Brazdeikis was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, but his parents went to Chicago (United States) when he was just two years old.

After switching place of residence several times, his family finally settled in Oakville (Canada) which is near Toronto.

Brazdeikis has some basketball roots in his family, as his second aunt, Lina Brazdeikyte, won the 1997 EuroBasket Women with the Lithuania women’s national team.

In June Brazdeikis was drafted 47th overall in the 2019 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings, who then traded him to the New York Knicks, who then signed Brazdeikis to a multi-year contract. Brazdeikis was the first player to post a 30-point game at the 2019 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.