A native of the city of Kaunas, he is a pupil of the local basketball school. It is not surprising that Mantas Kalnietis took his first steps in professional basketball at Zalgiris in 2006. And yesterday, here, in the arena crowded with fans, he finished his career.
Kalnietis played in the French and Italian championships. But the Russian stage of his career is special. In the VTB United League, he was loyal to only one club – Lokomotiv Kuban. They say that you will not enter the same river twice, but his 5 seasons in two visits to the “Loco” refute this popular idea.
It was with Loko that he won the European Cup in the 2012/13 season. And in the 2020/21 season, he helped the team to take second place for the first time in history according to the results of the regular part of the championship.
The contribution of the Lithuanian defender was highly appreciated – he was the first of the railwaymen to be recognized as the MVP of the regular part of the VTB United League championship. The performance of the 34-year-old player, who found his second youth in Krasnodar, was really impressive – the best assistant in the league (9.8 assists is the best indicator in history) and the third in efficiency (17.3 points). He also averaged 9.6 points per game.
Kalnietis was a reliable partner for the players and remains one of the main favorites of the Kuban fans.
Kalnietis’ international career as a member of the Lithuanian national team is really impressive. The winner of the European and World Championships has left a noticeable mark in modern basketball as an outstanding playmaker.
Thank you, Legend!