“Director of Free Air” R. Jokubaitis: about the unsuccessful championship and Sharo’s messages

He not only discovered his love for Klaipėda, but also regularly returns here on vacation.

“So it happened that I started commuting to Klaipėda since I was a teenager, my parents got job promotions in this Lithuanian city and they still live here. We call ourselves Klaipėda people. So, every time I come to visit both my parents and my teenage friends”, said R. Jokubaitis.

The young man, who is only 21 years old, can boast of amazing career leaps – from 2017 to 2021, he was a member of the Kaunas “Žalgiris” team system, rocked the Euroleague, and since the last season he has become an important player of the basketball giants of the Old Continent – “Barcelona”.

R. Jokubaitis stayed in Klaipėda for a couple of days after the European Basketball Championship ended in Germany, and during that time he managed to visit not only friends and relatives, but also visited his former school – Vytautas Didios Gymnasium.

Here he was surrounded by the attention of schoolchildren and for almost an hour he signed autographs and took pictures with the schoolchildren who surrounded him. The most important thing is that he talked to everyone in a warm and friendly way – as if he were talking to an old friend.

After the conversation with the students, R. Jokubaitis agreed to share his thoughts with the readers of “Vakāru ekspreso” as well.

Shivers ran through the body

Rock, do you get to sign autographs often? Do you get as much attention in Spain as in Lithuania?

Frankly, this is less common in Spain. After all, Barcelona is dominated by football, and Lithuania is a basketball country. So it is natural that basketball players get more attention here.

– If we have already talked about the last European Championship, tell us what it was like to play in an arena full of Lithuanian fans? You played in Germany, but it must have seemed like you were playing in Lithuania?

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– Amazing feeling. It’s hard to even describe in words.

Club basketball is not a national team, so I had never felt anything like it before. Now I felt the real atmosphere of the national team. Not only on the field, but also outside it: everywhere is full of fans, the support is unreal, although it didn’t go as we wanted, but the support of the people is impressive.

This is my first experience in the national team – I have never had such a feeling in my career.

When the Lithuanian national anthem is heard before the match, when the whole hall sings along, shivers really run through the body and excitement fills up, so as not to disappoint the fans.

When the Lithuanian national anthem is heard before the match, when the whole hall sings along, shivers really run through the body and excitement fills up, so as not to disappoint the fans.

Žygimantos Gedvilos/BNS photo/Rokas Jokubaitis

“Maybe that’s what got in the way?” After all, you played evenly with your opponents all the matches, you were even ahead, but at the end you somehow got confused. What is it: excitement or fear of taking the initiative? Did you talk to the national team players about what happened?

– We talked a little, but I think that if anyone stopped us in the European Championship, it was only ourselves.

Both against the Slovenians and against everyone, we really had an advantage. I can’t explain how to spread that lead. Maybe we were just scared ourselves that we could outplay and dominate them, I don’t know. Four games lost, and all in similar fashion. That is the saddest thing.

If we had lost by 15-20 points, then we wouldn’t even have a headache, we would pack our bags and go home. And now…

– And the Lithuanian basketball fans would have saved some nerves… And now hope was right there, but it kept running out…

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– That’s a fact. They told me how nervous the fans were… It’s the same for us. When you lose games like that, it’s very disappointing, but we won’t change anything. Is as. You won’t turn back time.

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– After the last match, after the defeat against the Spaniards in the round of 16, did the players of the national team sit down to talk or were you all silent, there was no desire to communicate?

– We didn’t want to all disperse to rooms or somewhere else. We were all together: players, coaches, and team managers. We sat together.

Of course, the mood was not good, but it’s better than sitting alone in a room and thinking about what went wrong.

Erikas Ovcharenko/BNS/Zalgiris Kaunas - Barcelona

Erikas Ovcharenko/BNS/Zalgiris Kaunas – Barcelona

Revealed the content of Shar’s messages

– Rumors spread in the public that your current coach at Barcelona, ​​Šarūnas Jasikevičius, used to call you after every European Championship match and give you advice. Is it true?

– That’s how it was. Only we did not communicate by phone calls, but by text messages. After all, Šarūnas Jasikevičius was in the same shoes, being an offensive player, he knows what to advise and what to say. I’m glad you supported me. It adds positivity, confidence.

– I wonder what Char wrote after the last defeat against the Spaniards.

– You won’t write much after such a defeat. He said, it is as it is, but the most important thing is not to push yourself, but to look further ahead. He said he would wait for me in Barcelona. He emphasized that there is no time to “get ready”, you need to prepare for the new season.

Many wrote along the lines of “you played well, but very little was missing – a bit of luck”.

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photo “Barcelona” club/Rokas Jokubaitis

He talked about matters of the heart

– Remind me, how long is your contract with the Barcelona club?

– Three more years, but after this season there is a plus from both sides, what to do next. We’ll see how things go.

– When I told my friends that I was going to meet Rok Jokubaitis and prepare an interview about him, they asked me when I would return to Žalgiris.

– That I will return someday, that’s 100 percent. Of course, it will depend on the circumstances, how everything will turn out, but if it were up to me, I would really like to return to “Žalgiris” someday.

Kaunas still had a great influence on my career, I would like to pay tribute to “Žalgiris” now, of course, if they invite me again. But anyway, to return, the fact is that I would like to.

– In high school, I noticed that you get a lot of attention from girls. Some whispered among themselves whether Rokas Jokubaitis has a girlfriend…

– No, I do not have.

It would be difficult with that friend at this stage of my career, in this matter I am the “director of free air” (smiles – author’s post).

In “Barcelona”, the schedule of matches and training is tight, there are always matches on weekends, there is no time.

Life in Barcelona super just because of the weather, the sea is nearby. Active city, movement, constant sea of ​​people. True, I rarely go to the city, because there is simply no time for it.

Flying to matches takes a lot of energy, even on days off you don’t really want to go anywhere. Sometimes the team and I go out for dinner. And so.

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