Basketball Club Žalgiris (Lithuanian: Krepšinio klubas Žalgiris) is a professional basketball team that is based in Kaunas, Lithuania. Founded in 1944, it is one of the oldest teams in the EuroLeague and plays domestically in the Lietuvos krepšinio lyga (LKL). Žalgiris is one of 11 European clubs that hold EuroLeague A Licenses, which provide their holders with a guaranteed place in the regular-season phase of the EuroLeague. Since the 2011–12 season, Žalgiris plays its home games in the new Žalgiris Arena, built just before the EuroBasket 2011. The club's name commemorates the victorious Battle of Žalgiris (Battle of Grunwald) (both names: Žalgiris and Grunwald are translated as "green grove").
Žalgiris has featured many Lithuanian basketball legends during their history, including Arvydas Sabonis, Modestas Paulauskas and Šarūnas Jasikevičius. Eight of the thirteen Lithuanian basketball players to ever play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have played for Žalgiris or were part of the Žalgiris youth program at one point in their careers (Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Donatas Motiejūnas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Darius Songaila and Martynas Andriuškevičius).
The team is the most decorated Lithuanian basketball club ever, having won nineteen Lithuanian championships, five Soviet championships, one European championship, and have reached the Lithuanian league finals every season in league history.
|Nickname||Žaliai balti (The Green-Whites)|
|Leagues||Lithuanian Basketball League|
|Team colors||Green, white|
|Team manager||Paulius Motiejūnas|
|Head coach||Šarūnas Jasikevičius|
|Team captain||Paulius Jankūnas|
|Championships||1 EuroLeague |
1 Saporta Cup
1 Intercontinental Cup
5 Soviet Union Leagues
1 Soviet Union Cup
20 Lithuanian Leagues
5 Lithuanian Cups
5 Baltic Leagues
1 Stepas Butautas Cup
2 King Mindaugas Cups
|Retired numbers||2 (5, 11)|
The club was formed in 1944. The team almost immediately became a power, winning multiple Lithuanian basketball championships, also winning the USSR Premier Basketball League in 1947 and 1951. The team also won silver in the 1949 and 1952 championships, also winning the bronze medals in 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956. Žalgiris also won the USSR Basketball Cup in 1953. The team at the time was led by Stepas Butautas, Vytautas Kulakauskas, Justinas Lagunavičius, Kazimieras Petkevičius, and later, by Stasys Stonkus and Algirdas Lauritėnas.
In the 1960s, the team's play declined, and many new young players like Modestas Paulauskas, Romualdas Venzbergas, Henrikas Giedraitis joined the team, later joined by Algirdas Linkevičius and Sergėjus Jovaiša, though the highest achievement was bronze medals in the Soviet Union championship in 1971, 1973 and 1978. In 1980, Žalgiris won the silver medals, and debuted in the 1980–81 FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup the next season.
Žalgiris became the dominant force in Soviet Union and in Europe when they added new talents to the team: first came Valdemaras Chomičius then Rimas Kurtinaitis and Vladas Garastas became the new team coach. But everything changed when the team noticed a talented young kid named Arvydas Sabonis, who was 17 years old 209 cm and he debuted in the club in 1981. He grew about 12 more cm in the next couple of years and could do everything on the court: play defense, assist his teammates, shoot 3 pointers and dominate inside the paint.
In the mid-1980s, the finals between BC Žalgiris Kaunas and CSKA Moscow (Central Sports Club of Army) served as a major inspiration for Lithuanian national revival that contributed to the emergence of the Sąjūdis national movement and re-establishment of state independence. Especially when they played in Kaunas Sports Hall.
During the 1980s, Žalgiris won three consecutive Soviet Union National League championships from 1985 till 1987, beating CSKA Moscow in the finals. In 1985 they reached the Saporta Cup final, but lost to FC Barcelona. Despite the loss, Žalgiris participated in EuroLeague the next year as the Soviet Union champions, reaching the finals and losing to the rival Cibona. In 1986, Žalgiris won the William Jones Intercontinental Cup, defeating Dražen Petrović's Cibona Zagreb in the semi-finals and Ferro Carril Oeste in the finals. They also participated in 1987 FIBA Club World Cup. Žalgiris was emerging as one of the top clubs in Europe at the time.
In 1987, however, Žalgiris suffered a setback. Biggest star of the club, Arvydas Sabonis, suffered a torn achilles tendon. Three months later, he tore it again, causing him to miss most of the 1987–88 season. That season, Žalgiris won a silver medal, losing to CSKA Moscow in the Soviet League finals. The next season, Sabonis came back, and the club managed to reach European Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals and win a silver medal in Soviet League, losing a dramatic finals to BC Budivelnik.
Just before the start of the 1989–90 season Žalgiris lost all of its leaders and half of its team: Sabonis, Kurtinaitis, Jovaiša, Chomičius and head coach Garastas all left the club, free from the Iron Curtain that barred Lithuanian basketball talent from becoming internationals.
In the 1989–90 season, Žalgiris reached the Clubs Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals, where they lost to Real Madrid. Žalgiris won the ProfBasket Cup tournament, featuring many former USSR teams, in 1992. They won their first LKL title in 1994, beating Atletas Kaunas 3–1 in a four-game series. For Next two years, Žalgiris again dominated LKL tournaments, beating Atletas Kaunas 3:0 in 1995 and 3:2 (after being down 0:2 in the series) in 1996, and had success participating in the 1995–96 FIBA European Cup when Rimas Kurtinaitis returned to play for his home team. After finishing with a 9–3 record in the regular season, Žalgiris advanced to the semi-finals, but fell to PAOK in the two games series. In 1997, Žalgiris again won the LKL championship, beating BC Žemaitijos Olimpas 3:0 in the finals, and reached the round of 16 in the Saporta Cup, losing to Paris Basket Racing. Players like Darius Lukminas, Gintaras Einikis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Dainius Adomaitis, Darius Maskoliūnas played for the club during this period, coached by Jonas Kazlauskas.
Žalgiris enjoyed the biggest success as a club during the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons. Led by a new generation of great Lithuanian talents Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, Mindaugas Žukauskas, experienced foreign players Franjo Arapović and Ennis Whatley and coached by Jonas Kazlauskas, they defeated Stefanel Milano 82–67 in the 1998 FIBA Saporta Cup final in Belgrade. Saulius Štombergas scored 35 points in the final. Žalgiris once again won the LKL title, the 5th one in a row against BC Atletas.
In the 1998–99 season Žalgiris made it to the EuroLeague Final Four in Munich for a first time in their history, where they were crowned European champions defeating Olympiacos and Kinder Bologna in the semi-final and the final respectively. Tyus Edney was named EuroLeague Final Four MVP. Žalgiris also won LKL and NEBL titles that same season. They won bronze in 1999 McDonald's Championship. The rivalry against BC Lietuvos rytas also began.
The year after winning the EuroLeague, Zalgiris suffered one of the worst seasons in club history, getting eliminated after the group stage in the EuroLeague, finishing only 3rd in the NEBL and losing in the LKL finals for the first time. The 2001 season was more successful, as the team reached the EuroLeague playoffs, but lost to AEK. The team regained the LKL championship though, beating BC Lietuvos Rytas 3–2. The 2002 season was again disappointing, as the team got eliminated in the EuroLeague after the group stage. The LKL championship was also lost. In the 2003 season, history repeated itself in the EuroLeague, as the team was eliminated after the group stage, though Zalgiris rebounded with an LKL championship victory, beating BC Lietuvos Rytas 4–2. Sabonis became the principal owner of the club in 2003, after having played for many years in the Spanish ACB League and the NBA. He also came back to play for the club for one last season in 2003–04. He again dominated European competition winning EuroLeague Regular Season and Top 16 MVP. Žalgiris almost made it to the EuroLeague Final Four, but were stopped by Maccabi Tel Aviv, who tied the game on Derrick Sharp's last second three-pointer at the end of regulation and went on to lose in overtime. The season ended in a high note, as Zalgiris easily swept Lietuvos Rytas in the LKL championship 4–0.
After the departure of Arvydas Sabonis at the conclusion of the 2003–04 season, Žalgiris faced a series of ups and downs. In the 2004–05 season, thanks to very solid play from mainstays Tanoka Beard, Mindaugas Timinskas, Dainius Šalenga and new addition Robert Pack, Žalgiris had a very solid season. In the EuroLeague, Žalgiris finished the regular season with an 8–6 record, including wins on the road against heavy favorites Maccabi Tel Aviv and FC Barcelona. However, in the Top16 phase, Žalgiris entered a long slump and finished with an 0–6 record. Žalgiris recovered on the domestic front, easily defeating ULEB Cup winner Lietuvos Rytas in the LKL finals with a 4–0 sweep, and also won the inaugural Baltic Basketball League championship, beating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals 64–60.
In the 2005–06 season, the team suffered many changes. With Mindaugas Timinskas, Dainius Šalenga and Robert Pack all leaving after the previous season, Žalgiris built a younger team and also resigned Ed Cota, and had high hopes for the season. With the emergence of Darjuš Lavrinovič, and strong teamwork, Žalgiris started the season very solidly, finishing the EuroLeague regular season with a 9–5 record. Off-court, Žalgiris had many issues, resulting in a huge slump for the team, ending the Top 16 phase with an 0–6 record again and losing both the LKL and BBL titles to Lietuvos Rytas. The lone bright spot became the play of emerging point guard Mantas Kalnietis, who was signed both as a replacement for the released Ed Cota and due to very poor play from new point guard and longtime NBA player Kenny Anderson.
For the 2006–07 season they had a new coach, Ainars Bagatskis, but finished the EuroLeague regular season with a 2–12 record. After Ainars Bagatskis was replaced by assistant coach Rimantas Grigas, Žalgiris won the newly established LKF Cup. In the LKL finals, Žalgiris regained the title after defeating Lietuvos Rytas 4–2.
Before the 2007–08 season, Žalgiris signed longtime EuroLeague player Marcus Brown. Having a very solid team, Žalgiris also faced off against NBA teams for the first time in club history. The team had a successful season in the EuroLeague, finishing with an 8–6 record. Žalgiris also won the LKF Cup for the second year in a row, beating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals.
The 2008–09 season started on a very high note, with the resigning of Jonas Mačiulis and Loren Woods, retaining leader Marcus Brown and signing of new point guard Willie Deane, who replaced the departed DeJuan Collins. However, financial difficulties soon started to appear, leading to poor play from the team and the firing of coach Grigas, who was replaced by longtime player and assistant coach Gintaras Krapikas. Willie Deane was soon released, in large part due to his catastrophic play in the EuroLeague, which led to a 7-game losing streak. The team recovered under point guard Mantas Kalnietis, and finished the EuroLeague regular season with a 2–8 record and missing the Top 16. Despite growing financial difficulties, and the departure of Loren Woods, the team started to fight back, making the LKL and BBL finals. Despite this, this was the most Žalgiris could accomplish, as they lost to Lietuvos Rytas. Jonas Mačiulis, who became the team leader during the season, left after the season ended.
During the 2008–09 season Žalgiris was facing significant financial difficulties which led to a search of a new investor. The solution was found and in 2009 Sabonis sold most of his stake to the local investment group, Ūkio banko investicinė grupė (ŪBIG) which was headed by Vladimir Romanov, who then held a majority stake of 75% of the club. Sabonis retained a 21.5% interest in the club; 3% was owned by a minority group, while the remaining 0.5% were owned by the Kaunas City municipality.
In the 2009–10 season, however, Romanov soon became disliked by Žalgiris fans. After the departures of Jonas Mačiulis and Paulius Jankūnas, the team resigned the returning Marcus Brown and also signed Martynas Pocius, who quickly became one of the best players for the team. The team also resigned point guard Mantas Kalnietis, who turned down the offer of Benneton Treviso. The team started the season successfully, winning the new BBL Cup against Lietuvos Rytas. However, soon the team began to play poorly, leading to Krapikas resigning as head coach and being replaced by former Lithuanian National team coach Ramūnas Butautas, who lead the team to the EuroLeague Top 16 phase with a 3–7 regular season record. After the team entered a slump, Romanov fired coach Butautas in a controversial move, replacing him with assistant coach and former captain Darius Maskoliūnas. Under Maskoliūnas, Žalgiris nearly made the Top 8 phase for the first time in club history, and finished with a solid 2–4 record. Žalgiris won back the BBL title by beating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals, but more controversy quickly arose during the LKL finals. During the series, Romanov fired coach Maskoliūnas, and Lietuvos Rytas won the controversial series 4–3, leading to speculation that Romanov intentionally tanked the finals, as Lietuvos Rytas qualified to the EuroLeague season because of it, while Žalgiris already had been qualified. The season is widely considered as the most controversial in club history.
Before the 2010–11 season, Žalgiris re-signed Paulius Jankūnas and DeJuan Collins, and also signed Aco Petrović as the new head coach for the team and Tomas Delininkaitis as shooting guard. The season began with Žalgiris playing very strongly, but after a slump in form Romanov fired head coach Petrović. They qualified to the Top 16 phase only in the final games, with a 5–5 record. After a controversial departure from center Mirza Begić, the slump continued even under new coach Ilias Zouros, with a poor record in the Top 16 (1–5 record) phase and the VTB United League (not qualifying to the Final Four). However, the losses motivated the team, and after recovery from Marcus Brown (who was injured for most of the season), Žalgiris won back the LKF Cup from Lietuvos Rytas and defeated VEF Riga in BBL finals. In the LKL finals, Žalgiris easily defeated Lietuvos Rytas 4–1, regaining the LKL title for the first time since 2008.
Due to the NBA lockout, the team signed Sonny Weems and primary Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson. The team also resigned long time fan-favorite Marko Popović. The team also signed longtime Lietuvos Rytas player and former Lithuanian National team captain Robertas Javtokas as center. However, the season started very poorly for Žalgiris. Hoping to end the slump, Romanov fired coach Ilias Zouros and replaced him with former Lietuvos Rytas head coach Aleksandar Trifunović. Despite initial improvement, with the team finishing the EuroLeague regular season with a 4–6 record and a trip to the Top 16, the slump continued in the Top 16, with the team ending the disastrous EuroLeague season with 0–6 record. After Ty Lawson left the team, Mantas Kalnietis played his perhaps best season, becoming a true leader for Žalgiris. The team slowly recovered, winning the LKF Cup. After being eliminated in the VTB playoffs, Žalgiris made the BBL Final Four, winning against Lietuvos Rytas in the finals despite losing leader Sonny Weems (who was released due to injury) and DeJuan Collins (who was released due to failing a drug test). With very solid play from Marko Popovič and Tomas Delininkaitis, Žalgiris retained the LKL title, defeating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals 4:1 and ending a difficult season on a high note.
In the 2011–12 season, due to the NBA lockout, Žalgiris signed both Ty Lawson and Sonny Weems. Although the team had some poor performances in the EuroLeague and VTB leagues, they repeated as BBL, LKF Cup and LKL champions, beating BC Pieno žvaigždės in the LKF finals, and Lietuvos Rytas in the BBL and LKL finals. In 2012–13 season they signed Rimantas Kaukėnas, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Kšyštof Lavrinovič and Tremmell Darden. The season began by winning the newly established LKF SuperCup against Lietuvos Rytas. Under new coach Joan Plaza Žalgiris started the EuroLeague season with 5 wins in 5 games, the best start in the club's history in EuroLeague. Žalgiris finished first in the group for the first time in 13 years, with an 8–2 record. Žalgiris won the LKL and the VTB League. In their 76:66 home victory against CSKA Moscow, Žalgiris broke their attendance record, with 15,812 spectators. It was second straight 'triple crown' of Lithuanian League, Lithuanian Cup and Baltic Cup.
In 2013, after the collapse of Ūkio bankas – owner Vladimir Romanov left Žalgiris. Financial troubles began for Žalgiris again, and Tremmell Darden and Ibrahim Jabber left the club. The new team director Paulius Motiejunas was announced on 20 March. Žalgiris finished the Top 16 with a 6–8 record, the best in club history. Žalgiris also won the group stage in the VTB United League. In May, Žalgiris won their 3rd straight LKL title, sweeping Lietuvos Rytas 4–0 in the finals.
After winning the LKL title, they competed in the VTB United League playoffs, defeating Nizhny Novgorod in the quarterfinals but losing to PBC Lokomotiv Kuban in the semi-finals. Despite the loss, Žalgiris was awarded the bronze medal for the first time since 2010.
After losing head coach Joan Plaza, Žalgiris rehired Ilias Zouros as head coach for the 2014 season. Zalgiris left the VTB United League because of the changes in the EuroLeague format, which meant that the teams that didn't qualify for the Top 16 would have a chance to play in the EuroCup playoffs. Žalgiris signed Justin Dentmon on a one-year deal.
In September, Žalgiris signed Šarūnas Jasikevičius to a one-year deal. After a very slow start to the season, Ilias Zouros was fired as head coach, replaced by Saulius Štombergas. Žalgiris made the Top 16 for the 5th consecutive time (with a 5–5 record). However, Žalgiris started struggling in the LKL. The Top 16 proved to be a difficult stage, with Žalgiris losing many games by 5 points or less (a 2–12 record overall). After a few losses in the LKF Cup and the LKL, Saulius Štombergas resigned and was replaced by Gintaras Krapikas as interim head coach. In the last week of Top 16 playing at home Žalgiris beat Real Madrid for only the third loss of the season for Spanish champions at that time. Justin Dentmon scored 36 points in that game – the most by Žalgiris player in modern EuroLeague. Dentmon also made 74 three-pointers during the season – a EuroLeague record since 2000.
After a loss to BC Lietuvos rytas in the final regular season game in the LKL, Žalgiris entered the playoffs as the 4th seed, the worst in club history. Making it to the semi-finals, Žalgiris faced Lietuvos rytas again-for the first time in 15 years these teams have not met in the LKL finals. After losing the first game, Žalgiris rebounded and won Game 2 to even the series. In the final third game, Žalgiris finished off Lietuvos rytas in thrilling game, winning the series 2:1 and qualifying for the finals once again. In the first game of the finals Žalgiris lost to BC Neptūnas, who were in their first LKL Finals. But Žalgiris, winning 3 straight games and entering game five, had a 3–1 lead, had a chance to win the series in Klaipėda, though ended up losing a close game 86:87. The sixth game was only close for the first five minutes, with Žalgiris dominating and winning 90:70, taking the series 4–2 and winning their 4th straight (16th overall) LKL championship.
During the preseason, Žalgiris made significant squad changes for the 2015 season, including Justin Dentmon leaving, being replaced by Maalik Wayns. Žalgiris also signed Darius Songaila from rivals Lietuvos Rytas and James Anderson from the NBA. Šarūnas Jasikevičius retired and became an assistant coach and more young players were brought to the team. The team started the LKL slowly, with young point guard Lukas Lekavičius being the main bright spot. In the EuroLeague, Žalgiris struggled, but after a few important wins against Nizhny Novgorod, BC UNICS and Dinamo Basket Sassari, qualified to the Top 16 phase with a 5–5 record. In the Top 16, Žalgiris finished with a respectable 5–9 record. In February, Žalgiris won their first title – the LKF Cup for the first time in three years, easily winning the quarterfinal and semi-final rounds, before defeating Lietuvos rytas in the finals. Žalgiris finished the LKL regular season in dominating fashion, with 12 straight wins, taking the top seed. After easy victories in the first and semi-final rounds, Žalgiris once again qualified to the LKL finals. In the finals, Žalgiris met long rival BC Lietuvos rytas, and won a hard fought series 4–0. This win was the 5th consecutive LKL title and the 17th overall.
The 2015–16 season, however, was difficult. At the start of December, a win over Pınar Karşıyaka 74–52 helped Žalgiris qualify to the Top 16 phase for the 7th consecutive season. After an away win against FC Barcelona Lassa, Žalgiris finished the regular season with a 5–5 record. After a disastrous start to the Top 16, coach Krapikas was replaced by Šarūnas Jasikevičius as the new head coach. The change, while improving the game, had little effect – injuries to Javtokas, the departure of Kalnietis lead the team to a huge slump, leading to a loss to Lietuvos Rytas in the King Mindaugas Cup final. After strong criticism of the team, including the team management for not finding another center to replace the injured Javtokas, Žalgiris signed new point guard Jerome Randle. While the EuroLeague season ended in a fiasco (the Top 16 stage was finished with a 2–12 record), by the end of the season, the team returned to its winning ways, finishing first in the LKL over Cup winners Lietuvos Rytas. Žalgiris easily made the LKL finals, facing BC Neptūnas (who eliminated Lietuvos Rytas in the semi-finals), winning the series 4–1 and with it, the sixth consecutive LKL title.
In November 2015, a new conflict between FIBA and Euroleague Basketball Company emerged. With FIBA announcing the formation of the Basketball Champions League, FIBA courted the top EuroLeague teams to their side. However, the top teams, the A license teams among which Žalgiris was a part of, decided to remain with the EuroLeague, signing a 10-year contract with the Euroleague Basketball Company.
The preparation for the next season for Žalgiris began during the 2016 LKL finals, with Žalgiris signing point guard Léo Westermann to replace the departing Jerome Randle. After the season, Pocius, Hanlan, Vougioukas, and long time Žalgiris players Siim-Sander Vene and Kaspars Vecvagars, all left the team, while Žalgiris choose to retain the services of Seibutis and Motum. Žalgiris also re-signed Edgaras Ulanovas. One of the main stories of the off-season became the situation of head coach Jasikevičius, who was pursued by FC Barcelona Bàsquet to become their new head coach, but in the end decided to remain with Žalgiris. During the entire previous season, the main problem for the team was the lack of a good shooter – to fix the problem, Žalgiris signed Kevin Pangos, and to replace Vougioukas at center, Žalgiris took Augusto Lima from Real Madrid on loan. Žalgiris also signed the returning Artūras Milaknis to a 3-year deal. Isaiah Hartenstein, a very talented prospect from Germany, who was signed during the previous season, is also scheduled to make his debut in the upcoming season. In August, Žalgiris signed Antanas Kavaliauskas, the captain of Lietuvos Rytas, in a rather controversial decision, as Kavaliauskas had previously promised to never play for Žalgiris, with Kavaliauskas apologizing to fans soon after the signing was announced. With the signing of Kavaliauskas, the formation of the team was complete. In February, Žalgiris won the first title of the 2017 season, winning the King Mindaugas Cup by defeating BC Neptūnas in the first round 81:58, BC Vytautas in the semi-finals 76:55, and BC Lietkabelis in the finals 84:63, while rival and 2016 champion Lietuvos rytas was eliminated in the first round. Edgaras Ulanovas won the tournament MVP. In the EuroLeague, Žalgiris exceeded all expectations – many pre-season experts believed that Žalgiris will finish in last place, which motivated the team. Under leadership of coach Jasikevičius, Žalgiris finished in 10th place, just 2 games out of the playoffs, with wins over teams like PBC CSKA Moscow, the defending champion, playoff teams like Saski Baskonia, Anadolu Efes S.K. and Panathinaikos B.C., and beating and actually finishing ahead of FC Barcelona Bàsquet and Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C., with a 14–16 record. Players like Brock Motum, Léo Westermann, Edgaras Ulanovas and Lukas Lekavičius blossomed and shined, and team captain Paulius Jankūnas played one of his best seasons of his career, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. The LKL became a formality, as Žalgiris easily finished in 1st place during the regular season with just a few losses, and easily crushed and swept long tome rival Lietuvos rytas, though had some struggles against a powerful BC Lietkabelis team, led by former Žalgiris leaders Darjuš and Kšyštof Lavrinovič, as the regular season series with Lietkabelis was tied. In the LKL playoffs, Žalgiris beat BC Dzūkija in the quarterfinals 3:0, beat BC Neptūnas 3:1 in the semi-finals, and faced BC Lietkabelis in the finals, as Lietkabelis beat Rytas in the semi-final. The only team to give Žalgiris some trouble in the regular season, Lietkabelis fought hard, but a win in Game 2 would be the only win of the series – Žalgiris won the series 4:1, their 7th consecutive LKL championship and finished a very good season. The 2016–17 season is considered as one of the best in modern Žalgiris history.
Prior the 2017–18 season, Žalgiris and one of the club sponsors Avia Solutions Group reached an agreement which guaranteed private flights for the team during away games in a newly renewed business-class Boeing 737 jet. The off-season work began just a week after winning the LKL championship, with Brock Motum, a breakout player, signing with Anadolu Efes S.K.. To replace Motum, Žalgiris signed Aaron White, who played a season with B.C. Zenit Saint Petersburg. Léo Westerman signed with PBC CSKA Moscow, and was replaced by talented guard Vasilije Micić. To replace Seibutis, Žalgiris originally signed Royce O'Neale, who terminated his deal just weeks later to sign with the Utah Jazz. Žalgiris then signed Axel Toupane, who spent the season in the NBA and the NBA D-League, to replace him. Because center Robertas Javtokas announced retirement and the loan of Augusto Lima ended, Žalgiris signed Brandon Davies of AS Monaco Basket in the center position. The most shocking departure came in the end of June, when Lukas Lekavičius, breakout point guard, signed a contract with Panathinaikos B.C.. Needing a new point guard, Žalgiris signed Dee Bost, also of AS Monaco, to replace him. Coach Jasikevičius also re-signed with Žalgiris, while the retired Javtokas became the new sports director of the team. On September 22, Žalgiris played a game in London, in a sellout against Polski Cukier Toruń, which Žalgiris won 87:61. Žalgiris won the King Mindaugas Cup for the second year in a row, defeating BC Šiauliai 85:78 in the quarterfinals, BC Lietkabelis 88:74 in the semifinals, before beating BC Lietuvos rytas 81:62 in the finals, in dominating fashion. Edgaras Ulanovas won the tournament MVP for the second straight year.
In the 2017–18 EuroLeague, Žalgiris, similar to last season, was projected to be one of the last teams. During October–December, Žalgiris struggled with a 5-5 record, before going on amazing run to finish of December, winning 5 consecutive games, beating teams such as Panathinaikos and Euroleague champions Fenerbahçe, finishing the first round with a 10–5 record and tied for 3rd place in the standings. In the second round, Dee Bost was replaced by Beno Udrih. For the first few weeks, Žalgiris struggled in the second round with a few unexpected losses, but wins against teams like Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Barcelona Bàsquet and CSKA Moscow helped the team fight for a place in the top 8. On 22 March 2018, Žalgiris qualified to the Euroleague playoffs for the first time since 2001, and finished the regular season with an 18–12 record and 6th place, facing Olympiacos, who Žalgiris defeated both times in the regular season, 74:68 at home and an overtime 86:85 win in Piraeus. On 26 April 2018, and qualified for the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four after beating Olympiacos in game 4 to clinch a 3–1 series win. It was achieved by having a second lowest budget in the whole league. In the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four, Žalgiris lost to Fenerbahçe in the semifinals, 67:76. In the 3rd place game, Žalgiris faced longtime rivals CSKA Moscow, who lost to Real Madrid in the semifinals. Žalgiris dominated most of the way, leading by as much as 24 points at one point, but CSKA made a comeback, erasing the deficit by the end. Žalgiris still prevailed, 79:77, and finished in 3rd place in the Euroleague. Fans gave the team a hero's welcome when they returned to Kaunas. In the LKL, Žalgiris won the regular season, and easily beat BC Nevėžis and BC Lietkabelis in the playoffs, with 3:0 series wins each. In the LKL finals, Žalgiris faced Lietuvos rytas - led by LKL finals MVP Brandon Davies, Žalgiris won the series 4:1 and their 8th consecutive LKL championship. This season was the best for Žalgiris since 1999.
After a near perfect season, however, the off-season was difficult. Žalgiris lost Pangos to FC Barcelona, and Micič signed with Efes, losing the front court. Žalgiris signed Nate Wolters as the team's new point guard. After the departure of Beno Udrih, Žalgiris signed Donatas Sabeckis from BC Šiauliai, who lead the LKL in assists. Toupane left the team to sign with Olympiacos, and to replace him, Žalgiris signed Marius Grigonis, former member of the Žalgiris who was having a successful career abroad, to a multi-year deal, and talented guard/forward Thomas Walkup. At center, Davies had re-signed in April, and Kavaliauskas was re-signed in June - to replace little used reserve Martynas Sajus, Žalgiris signed Laurynas Birutis, who was loaned and had a very successful season with BC Šiauliai. Several more reserves, Paulius Valinskas and Gytis Masiulis, were loaned to other LKL teams to get more playing time. Ulanovas also re-signed to a new contract. Like the previous season, the biggest concern was the future of coach Jasikevičius. Despite offers from other Euroleague teams and even the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association, Jasikevičius remained with Žalgiris, signing a new contract. Former player Tomas Masiulis replaced Darius Songaila in the coaching staff. In September, Žalgiris also signed the returning Léo Westermann to fill the point guard spot.
Žalgiris basketball club was featured in NBA 2K14 video game with top thirteen other EuroLeague teams for the first time in the club history. On 15 May 2014 it was announced that Žalgiris would be included in NBA 2K15 video game as well. The club was also featured in NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17.
|Žalgiris retired numbers|
|5||Modestas Paulauskas||SF||1962–1976||25 March 2015|
|11||Arvydas Sabonis||C||1981–1989, 2001–2002, 2003–2005||27 September 2014|
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
Updated: 22 October 2018
|Pos.||Starting 5||Bench 1||Bench 2||Bench 3|
|C||Brandon Davies||Antanas Kavaliauskas||Laurynas Birutis|
|PF||Paulius Jankūnas||Aaron White||Erikas Venskus|
|SF||Edgaras Ulanovas||Marius Grigonis||Lukas Uleckas|
|SG||Thomas Walkup||Artūras Milaknis|
|PG||Nate Wolters||Léo Westermann||Derrick Walton||Rokas Jokubaitis|
LKF / KING Mindaugas
|Regional competitions||Europe||Head Coach||Roster|
|1992–93||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||EuroLeague
FIBA EuroLeague 1992–93
Gintaras Einikis, Arvydas Straupis, Gintaras Staniulis, Gintautas Šivickas, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Arūnas Visockas, Saulius Štombergas, Darius Lukminas, Darius Maskoliūnas, Algirdas Brazys, Vaidas Jurgilas, Tauras Stumbrys, Aurimas Tomas Palšis
|1993–94||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||FIBA EuroLeague 1993–94 Second round||Jaak Salumets||Gintaras Einikis, Romanas Brazdauskis, Erikas Bublys, Antwon Harmon, Arūnas Visockas, Gert Kullamäe, Darius Lukminas, Gintautas Šivickas, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Darius Maskoliūnas, Algirdas Brazys, Vaidas Jurgilas, Tauras Stumbrys|
|1994–95||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||1994–95 FIBA European League Second Round||Jonas Kazlauskas||Gintaras Einikis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Tomas Masiulis, Arūnas Visockas, Nerijus Karlikanovas, Darren Henrie, Darius Lukminas, Marijus Kavoliukas, Tautvydas Lydeka, Darius Maskoliūnas, Algirdas Brazys, Tauras Stumbrys, Michael Coleman|
|1995–96||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||1995–96 FIBA European League Second Round||Jonas Kazlauskas||Torgeir Bryn, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Joey Hooks, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Tomas Masiulis, Arūnas Visockas, Miloš Babić, Darius Lukminas, Erikas Bublys, Darius Maskoliūnas, Nerijus Karlikanovas, Tauras Stumbrys, Darius Sirtautas|
|1996–97||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||EuroCup
|Jonas Kazlauskas||Franjo Arapović, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Gintautas Šivickas, Dainius Adomaitis, Erikas Bublys, Darius Maskoliūnas, Anthony Miller, Veljko Mršić, Andre Reid, Tauras Stumbrys, Darius Sirtautas|
|1997–98||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||EuroCup
|Jonas Kazlauskas||Franjo Arapović, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Mindaugas Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Virginijus Praškevičius, Darius Maskoliūnas, Ennis Whatley, Tauras Stumbrys, Darius Sirtautas|
|1998–99||Champion||No tournament||NEBL Champion||EuroLeague
|Jonas Kazlauskas||George Zidek, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Mindaugas Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Anthony Bowie, Darius Maskoliūnas, Tyus Edney, Giedrius Gustas|
|Jonas Kazlauskas||George Zidek, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Ivan Grgat, Mindaugas Žukauskas, Mindaugas Timinskas, Tauras Stumbrys, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Donatas Slanina, Darren Henry, Corey Beck, Mitchell Butler, Chris Garner|
|2000–01||Champion||No tournament||NEBL Finalist||EuroLeague
|Algirdas Brazys||Grigorij Khizhnyak, Artūras Masiulis, John White, Martynas Andriukaitis, Andrius Jurkūnas, Dainius Šalenga, Tomas Masiulis, Steve Woodberry, Donatas Slanina, Giedrius Gustas, Kęstutis Marčiulionis, Nerijus Karlikanovas, Marius Bašinskas, Vidas Ginevičius|
|Algirdas Brazys||Grigorij Khizhnyak, Artūras Masiulis, Rolandas Matulis, Andrius Jurkūnas, Dainius Šalenga, Tomas Masiulis, Steve Woodberry, Donatas Slanina, Giedrius Gustas, Sherman Hamilton, Kęstutis Marčiulionis, Vidas Ginevičius, Arvydas Sabonis, Martynas Andriukaitis, Kenneth Inge|
|Antanas Sireika||Gintaras Einikis, Tanoka Beard, Darius Šilinskis, Artūras Masiulis, Tadas Klimavičius, Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Šalenga, Kornél Dávid, Mindaugas Timinskas, Chris Carrawell, Giedrius Gustas, Ed Cota, Vidas Ginevičius|
|2003–04||Champion||No tournament||No tournament||EuroLeague
|Antanas Sireika||Tanoka Beard, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Arvydas Sabonis, Paulius Jankūnas, Artūras Javtokas, Miroslav Beric, Dainius Šalenga, Simonas Serapinas, Mindaugas Timinskas, Ainars Bagatskis, Giedrius Gustas, Ed Cota|
|2004–05||Champion||No tournament||BBL Champion||EuroLeague
|Antanas Sireika||Tanoka Beard, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Paulius Jankūnas, Martynas Andriuškevičius, Dainius Šalenga, Simonas Serapinas, Jonas Mačiulis, Mindaugas Timinskas, Ainars Bagatskis, Vidas Ginevičius, Robert Pack, Artūras Javtokas, Arvydas Sabonis, Gediminas Navickas|
|2005–06||Finalist||No tournament||BBL Finalist||EuroLeague
|Antanas Sireika||Tanoka Beard, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Paulius Jankūnas, Darius Šilinskis, Reggie Freeman, Simonas Serapinas, Jonas Mačiulis, Mantas Kalnietis, Ed Cota, Vidas Ginevičius, Larry Ayuso, Kenny Anderson, Vilmantas Dilys|
|Rimantas Grigas||Tanoka Beard, Darius Šilinskis, Hanno Möttölä, Paulius Jankūnas, Marcelo Machado, Kirk Penney, Jonas Mačiulis, Vladimir Štimac, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins, Marko Popović, Vidas Ginevičius, Vaidotas Pečiukas, Vytenis Jasikevičius|
|Rimantas Grigas||Eurelijus Žukauskas, Tanoka Beard, Paulius Jankūnas, Goran Jurak, Dainius Šalenga, Jonas Mačiulis, Marcus Brown, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins, Marko Popović, Damir Markota, Mamadou N'Diaye, Donatas Motiejūnas, Vilmantas Dilys, Žygimantas Janavičius|
|Gintaras Krapikas||Eurelijus Žukauskas, Loren Woods, Paulius Jankūnas, Tomas Masiulis, Tadas Klimavičius, Dainius Šalenga, Jonas Mačiulis, Darius Šilinskis, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, Vytenis Čižauskas, Šarūnas Vasiliauskas, Žygimantas Janavičius, Ratko Varda, Willie Deane, Rokas Čepanonis|
|Darius Maskoliūnas||Mirza Begić, Travis Watson, Tadas Klimavičius, Mario Delaš, Dainius Šalenga, Martynas Pocius, Artūras Milaknis, Marcus Brown, Aleksandar Ćapin, Mantas Kalnietis, Siim-Sander Vene, Povilas Butkevičius, Povilas Čukinas, Šarūnas Vasiliauskas, Adas Juškevičius|
|Ilias Zouros||Mirza Begić, Boban Marjanović, Travis Watson, Omar Samhan, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Trent Plaisted, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Dainius Šalenga, Martynas Pocius, Artūras Milaknis, Marcus Brown, Aleksandar Ćapin, Tomas Delininkaitis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins|
|2011–12||Champion||Winner||VTB United League||EuroLeague
|Aleksandar Trifunović||Robertas Javtokas, Milovan Raković, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Sonny Weems, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marko Popović, Tomas Delininkaitis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins, Reeves Nelson, Dainius Šalenga, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Ty Lawson|
|2012–13||Champion||Not participated||VTB United League 3 place||EuroLeague
|Joan Plaza||Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marko Popović, Kšyštof Lavrinovič, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Jeff Foote, Mario Delaš, Tremmell Darden, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Rimantas Kaukėnas, Oliver Lafayette, Ibrahim Jaaber, Adas Juškevičius, Donnie McGrath|
|2013–14||Champion||Third place||Not participated||EuroLeague
|Saulius Štombergas||Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Martynas Pocius, Justin Dentmon, Kšyštof Lavrinovič, Siim-Sander Vene, Artūras Milaknis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Mindaugas Kupšas, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Tauras Jogėla, Tomas Dimša, Kaspars Vecvagars, Vytenis Čižauskas, Artūras Gudaitis|
|Gintaras Krapikas||Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Siim-Sander Vene, Artūras Milaknis, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Tomas Dimša, Kaspars Vecvagars, Artūras Gudaitis, Lukas Lekavičius, Donatas Tarolis, Vaidas Kariniauskas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Darius Songaila, James Anderson, Will Cherry|
|Gintaras Krapikas, Šarūnas Jasikevičius||Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Siim-Sander Vene, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Kaspars Vecvagars, Lukas Lekavičius, Edgaras Ulanovas, Martynas Pocius, Renaldas Seibutis, Olivier Hanlan, Brock Motum, Ian Vougioukas, Martynas Sajus, Jerome Randle, Mantas Kalnietis|
|Šarūnas Jasikevičius||Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Lukas Lekavičius, Edgaras Ulanovas, Renaldas Seibutis, Brock Motum, Leo Westermann, Kevin Pangos, Augusto Lima, Artūras Milaknis, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Paulius Valinskas, Isaiah Hartenstein, Martynas Varnas, Gytis Masiulis|
|Šarūnas Jasikevičius||Paulius Jankūnas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Kevin Pangos, Artūras Milaknis, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Paulius Valinskas, Gytis Masiulis, Aaron White, Vasilije Micić, Brandon Davies, Dee Bost, Axel Toupane, Martynas Sajus, Martynas Arlauskas, Beno Udrih|
||Šarūnas Jasikevičius||Paulius Jankūnas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Artūras Milaknis, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Aaron White, Brandon Davies, Leo Westermann, Nate Wolters, Marius Grigonis, Laurynas Birutis, Thomas Walkup, Donatas Sabeckis, Derrick Walton, Lukas Uleckas, Rokas Jokubaitis|
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
To appear in this section a player must have either:
Green and white are Žalgiris dominating colors in the uniform. The home games are played in green uniforms and the away games are played in white. Since 2012, Adidas is the manufacturer of the club uniforms.
Only players with significant amount of games played or points scored.‡
|Position||Nat.||Player||Seasons||Games||Points total||Points per game|
15 October 2007
|Golden State Warriors||107–88||BC Žalgiris|
17 October 2007
|Toronto Raptors||105–99||BC Žalgiris|
19 October 2007
|Washington Wizards||115–96||BC Žalgiris|
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.