This is a life story worthy of the screen. From the street – to the basketball elite. From a small town – to the most powerful European clubs. Such an impressive story of Ramūnas Šiškauskas who has finished his career as a basketball player is.
It is difficult to believe that Mr. Šiškauskas started to play more seriously only after attaining the age of 15, i.e. he was of the age the oldest participants of the International Children’s Games were (ICG 2017).
The young talent started to compete in the Kaišiadorys amateur team where training was hardly held 2-3 times a week. The talented child was noticed by basketball specialists and after just leaving school Mr. Šiškauskas was already included into the strongest Lithuanian basketball league, and quite soon got an invitation also to the Lithuanian men’s national basketball team.
“It is hard to believe,” told Ramūnas in one interview.
The collection of trophies of 38-year-old Mr. Šiškauskas is so great that it is difficult to list all awards. In 2000, together with the Lithuanian national team, he won a bronze medal in the Sydney Olympics, European championship in 2003, and he won a bronze medal in 2007.
In the club basketball, achievements are also incredible – after starting to play in Sakalai team (in 1996), Ramūnas quickly shifted to Lietuvos Rytas team in Vilnius city (1998-2004) and started a legionnaire’s career: represented Trevizo Benetton (2004-2006), Athens Panathinaikos (2006-2007) and finished his career in Moscow CSKA club (2007-2012).
Mr. Šiškauskas became a European champion even twice.
Grew up in the Basketball Court
“I do not have much interesting to tell”, modestly smiled Ramūnas, although his career is hardly comprehensible.
“I spent all my childhood in the yard. At that time, living conditions were different than nowadays – a wooden playground or only asphalt. All days were the same – I used to come from school and bump a ball all day long. Of course, I have tried out other sports too – football, karate, and boxing. I got into basketball – I tried to play already in the first grade, however, soon quit it and tried other sports. I started playing more seriously only in the ninth grade. We did not have any sports schools; therefore, all sports took place in the street“, remembers Ramūnas.
When they started to show basketball on TV, R. Šiškauskas realized that he found his vocation.
“When I was 8-10 years old, I used to watch Žalgiris competitions with my father. Then they started showing NBA finals over the TV where Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan were playing. This way I got into it,” tells Ramūnas.
Although R. Šiškauskas started playing basketball very late, he managed to catch up and surpass his peers quite well.
“I do not say that all children should be trained in the street basketball court, but that fight for yourself, for your existence, one on one street basketball, defence was undoubtedly useful for me and when I came to the professional basketball, I have not encountered any problems. Of course, we were in need of more team game skills, yet this was not a big problem. I grew up in the yard basketball court, and this helped in my further career,” told Mr. Šiškauskas.
It is Advised to Seek a Goal
Ramūnas does not conceal that when growing in a small town of Kaišiadorys he was exposed to a number of temptations.
“You may find temptations any time; however, the most important thing is your ambitions and the values instilled in you by your parents. You focus on what is most important for you and withdraw from other things. If you see that some friends or company are no good for you – you simply withdraw from them. You go where you feel good,” states the former basketball player.