Former Portland Trail Blazers point guard Kenny Anderson is celebrating his 50th birthday today, and is getting plenty of well-wishes on his Twitter account. But Anderson is also marking the occasion by reminiscing on his career. Among the players he remembers is Arvydas Sabonis, international superstar and Anderson’s teammate during the 1996-97 season.
‘96-’97 was Anderson’s only year in Portland. It was Sabonis’ second after joining the Blazers following a long career overseas. Anderson’s lightning-quick moves stood in deep contrast to Sabonis’ plodding game, but the two gelled instantly. When Anderson drove off the dribble, Sabonis read the court flawlessly, ducking towards the hoop or open space to receive the pass. When Sabonis held the halfcourt, Anderson was free to dart off-ball, knowing any opening would find the rock in his hands, courtesy of a Sabonis dish. Anderson scored 17.5 per game that year, with 7.1 assists. Sabonis shot 37.1% from the arc, 49.8% overall for 13.4 points of his own.
We covered both Anderson and Sabonis in our 100 Greatest Figures in Franchise History series during this spring’s COVID hiatus. Wish happy birthday to Kenny and share fond memories of Sabas today in their honor!