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Magnificent Maciulis draws curtain on long and successful career
VILNIUS (Lithuania) - If distinguishing qualities of a Lithuania national team basketball player are toughness, resilience, courage, grit and pride, then it's little wonder that Jonas Maciulis represented his country for the better part of two decades.
Maciulis, a 1.98m (6ft 6in) forward, has announced his retirement. He walks off the court with plenty of memories, like participation in three Olympics, three FIBA Basketball World Cups and five FIBA EuroBaskets.
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Maciulis played fast, modern basketball. He defended every player and shied away from no one on the boards. If there was a loose ball for the taking, he would be the first to dive on the floor in a bid to get it. No ball was a lost cause for Maciulis; he'd be the one running at a breakneck speed to save it as it flew out of bounds.
If his passion and hustle were the defining characteristics of Maciulis, he was also capable of taking over games with an array of offensive skills.
Who can ever forget his unbelievable display for Lithuania against Georgia in the knockout round of FIBA EuroBasket 2015 in Lille, France?
No better way to say "Aciu" to @JonasMaciulis8 🇱🇹 than bringing back his legendary 34 PTS 6 REB 3 AST 4 STL performance in the #EuroBasket 2015 Round of 16 💚— FIBA EuroBasket (@EuroBasket) September 9, 2021
EuroBasket 2015 🥈
EuroBasket 2013 🥈
EuroBasket 2007 🥉 pic.twitter.com/fdXHfs5z0U
Georgia were poised to have their biggest win at the FIBA EuroBasket but Maciulis denied them, pouring in 34 points in an 85-81 Lithuania triumph in the Round of 16.
If that was his finest hour, he had plenty of other big displays like at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2012 in Caracas, Venezuela.
His 10 points and 11 rebounds were pivotal in a 76-72 victory over Puerto Rico that put Lithuania just a win away from the London 2012 Games. Maciulis followed that up with a game-high 19 points in a 109-83 victory the Dominican Republic, a result that punched the Baltic side's ticket to the Olympics.
Maciulis played fast and furious for Lithuania at the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas
Like so many other great Lithuanians and international basketball stars, Maciulis let the world know that a juggernaut was coming as a youth player.
He was the third-leading scorer in the Lithuania team that captured the title at the FIBA U21 World Championship for Men in Argentina.
Maciulis played for many clubs over the years, like Zalgiris in his native Kaunas, and big foreign teams like Olimpia Milano, Panathinaikos, Real Madrid and AEK.
In an Instagram post, Maciulis thanked all over those who supported him over the years.
"There was a lot of sweat, tears of joy and frustration. Many amazing people were met. Many countries traveled to. Many titles won. I want to thank everyone who supported me in the most difficult moments after the losers and after the surgeries. To family, friends, coaches, doctors and all the people who worked on the teams and no doubt to all the fans ...."