Donnie Nelson Rumors
After Lithuania secured its independence in 1991, Sarunas Marciulionis spearheaded the movement to bring Lithuanian basketball to the ’92 Games. With Donnie Nelson as an assistant, Lithuania beat the Unified Team—a squad made up of players from 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics, including Russia—in the bronze medal game, with Marciulionis scoring 29 points.
DONNIE NELSON: It was a magical time. You have the greatest basketball team ever assembled for America, and then standing next to them you’ve got Sarunas, as part of this freedom fighting team that literally beat the old Soviet team to win the bronze medal. SARUNAS MARCIULIONIS: Everybody was celebrating and screaming. And I went to shower with my shoes on, with my full uniform, just standing there with one idea: It’s not that I won, but what if I lost? The whole Olympic tournament, all those games, all those fundraisers, all the nation’s excitement. And if you lose… I don’t know what I would do with myself. I was so happy that it was behind us. Then, it was just happiness and tears.