Not only that, Wally is named after him. Sabonis, a giant Lithuanian ballplayer, was 7'3" and 315 lbs when he played for the Blazers. I loved to watch him play. I got Wally when Sabonis was still with the Blazers, and when I saw how huge Wally was getting, I decided to name him fully "Walter Sabonis" - the name that is on his AKC paperwork.
When Demarcus saw how I excited I was to talk about Sabonis, he called his friend over. His friend (I can't remember his name) is a Lithuanian born German visiting the U.S. to rehab a basketball injury. His father was very good friends with Arvydas Sabonis and he had many, many stories to tell. He said, "I could talk all day about Sabonis."
For those of you unfamiliar with him, Sabonis was one of the best players to play European ball. He was drafted by the Trailblazers in 1986 when he was a teenager, but he couldn't come to the U.S. because he was a Russian citizen and the cold war was still in full force. When he tore his achilles, the Blazers brought him to the U.S. and paid the best surgeons to repair his injury, sending him back to the Soviet Union stronger than ever, where he would ultimately beat the United States with the Soviet team for the gold medal in the 1988 summer Olympics. He finally came to the U.S. and the NBA in 1995 - a 31-year-old rookie - already suffering injuries and playing a slower game. I've always wondered what he could have been like if he could have come to the U.S. in 1986 and played in the NBA when he was young, fast, and uninjured.