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Abrams: "Long, Strange Trip" For Former Blazers C Arvydas Sabonis

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Jonathan Abrams of Grantland.com has a lengthy feature on former Portland Trail Blazers center Arvydas Sabonis, who was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last Friday. ------------------------ Sixteen years later, Whitsitt remembered how the dinner had started late — real late — wreaking havoc on his circadian rhythm. More important, Whitsitt remembered marveling at Sabonis' hands. They were huge, Whitsitt recalled, but they also served food in the same delicate manner with which a surgeon would handle a scalpel. "If you get the chance, pay attention to those hands," Whitsitt told me over the phone. "Hopefully, he doesn't crush your hands with a handshake, but he could if he wanted to." ... Sabonis offered his hand. Whitsitt had not been lying. Mine disappeared as we shook. Sabonis was accompanied by family members in a secluded room on the Hall of Fame's second floor. We sat away from them in a corner of the room. Sabonis struggled to ease his rear end into his chair. He was not as forthcoming in the interview as his fellow inductees had been about their memories of the game. Part of the problem could be chalked up to the language barrier — Jay Jensen, Portland's athletic trainer, doubts Sabonis' English has improved or declined since the day Jensen picked him up at Portland's airport in 1995. But even in his NBA career, Sabonis shied from the media spotlight — part of his hesitance on this day could be attributed to a genuine sense of humility. ------------------------ Don't forget: Sabonis will be honored at Pioneer Courthouse Square tomorrow. Details here. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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