Zalgiris lost its starting point guard Ibrahim Jaaber head of a very important Euroleague Top 16 game on Thursday against Alba Berlin.
Jaaber left the team due to personal reasons. Vitoldas Masalskis, Zalgiris Sports Director, told to the club’s website that the player with the rules regarding the advertisement on the jerseys.
“He watched an LKL game against Lietkabelis Panevezys from the bench and complained about the performance of the dance team.
“The next day he sent a letter to the club saying that he will never play our team or any other European team..
“We were surprised by such decision. If he covers Zalgiris’ losses, we won’t put any barriers in his way to leave the team.
“However, one thing seems strange. Jaaber is playing in Europe for several years already; his agent participated when he signed a contract with Zalgiris. That’s why they [the player and the agent] both knew very well the rules and conditions in European clubs”, said Masalskis.
“I understand that because of such decision I might never earn money from basketball but I am prepared to make such sacrifice due to my beliefs”, Zalgiris’ website quoted Jaaber.
Jaaber is a Muslim and his religious beliefs could have most likely been the reason behind his decision. For example, Islamic regulations forbid the use of alcohol, as well as the promotion of it. There are logos of alcohol-producing companies on Zalgiris jersey.
It should be noted, though, that the logos of Zalgiris sponsors were there from the start of the season.
After missing an entire season due to an injury, Jaaber quickly found his way to the starting lineup of Kaunas side. He averaged 5.9 points and 2.2 assists per game in Euroleague.