Basketball is the most popular and successful team sport in Lithuania. Luke Winn wrote in ‘Sports Illustrated,’ ‘Basketball is the only sport the 3.2 million Lithuanians truly care about—it’s their second religion, after Catholicism—and their success is proportionately stunning.’ The Lithuanian national basketball team won the European Basketball Championship in 1937, 1939 (led by Frank Lubin, the ‘Grandfather of Lithuanian Basketball’), and 2003.
They won a silver medal in 1995, and bronze in 2007, and again hosted EuroBasket 2011. Having been part of the Soviet Union, Lithuanian players frequently formed the core of the Soviet national team. This was especially so for the 1988 Olympic basketball gold medal-winning team. After the restoration of Lithuanian independence in 1990, the national team was resurrected. Lithuania won bronze medals in the first three Olympics to include NBA players – 1992, 1996, and 2000, finished fourth in 2004 and 2008, and qualified to play at London 2012 Olympics.