A Russian sports website named sports.ru has given five Lithuanian basketball players the questionable honor of playing on that website's modern-day USSR fantasy dream team. The article's author recounted that four Lithuanian basketball players – Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Valdemaras Chomičius and Rimas Kurtinaitis - played for the Soviet Union when its basketball team took the gold at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
Jonas Valančiūnas next to the USSR's coat of arms
© DELFI montažas

The imaginary modern USSR national team would have featured Jonas Mačiulis, Jonas Valančiūnas, Mantas Kalnietis, Donatas Motiejūnas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Their teammates would have included Dmitriy Hvostov, Vitaliy Fridzon, Timofey Mozgov, Aleksey Shved, Sergey Karasiov, Sergey Monia and Andrey Voroncevich representing Russia, Janis Strelniekas and Kristapas Porzingis representing Latvia, and Zaza Pachulia representing Georgia.

At the recent European Championships, the Russian team flew home directly after the group stage with one victory in five matches. The Lithuanian team took second place and won tickets to the Olympic Games next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The sports website's article came on the heels of an incident in the NBA when Donatas Motiejūnas, who plays for the Houston Rockets, was mistakenly identified as a player from the USSR. Motiėjūnas, who is 25 years old, was born in an independent Lithuania.

A mistake by the NBA's broadcasters
A mistake by the NBA's broadcasters

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