Lietuvos krepšinio lyga

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"LKL" redirects here. For other uses, see LKL (disambiguation).
Lithuanian Basketball League
Lietuvos krepšinio lyga (LKL)
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2015–16 LKL season
Beko lkl.svg
Sport Basketball
Founded April 22, 1993 (as LKA)
Director Romualdas Brazauskas
President Remigijus Milašius
No. of teams 10
Country Lithuania Lithuania
Continent European Union FIBA Europe (Europe)
Most recent champion(s) Žalgiris (17th title)
Most titles Žalgiris (17 titles)
TV partner(s)
Related competitions LKF Cup
Founder Šarūnas Marčiulionis
Level on pyramid 1st tier
Relegation to NKL
Official website www.lkl.lt

Lietuvos krepšinio lyga (LKL) (English: Lithuanian Basketball League) is the premier professional men's basketball league in Lithuania, composed of 11 teams, and a member of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. Top LKL clubs are annual participants of the top international competition in Europe, including the Euroleague.

The league was founded on April 22, 1993, as Lietuvos krepšinio asosiacija (English: Lithuanian Basketball Assosiation) (LKA). The first professional sports organisation in Lithuania. Later adapting the name Lietuvos krepšinio lyga. The league's headquarters is located in Vilnius.

History[edit]

Foundation and Žalgiris dominance[edit]

The Lithuanian Basketball Assosiation was founded in 1993, when eight of the strongest Lithuanian basketball clubs' officials met with representatives of the Šarūnas Marčiulionis basketball fund. The original eight teams were: Žalgiris Kaunas, Atletas Kaunas, Drobė Kaunas, Statyba Vilnius, Olimpas Plungė, BC Šilutė, Lietkabelis Panevėžys and Neptūnas Klaipėda. Later the league would become Lietuvos krepšinio lyga.[1]

Since the league was founded, it has been dominated by Žalgiris. They won the league's championship trophy for six consecutive years, from 1994 through 1999. Their main rival during those years was Atletas. In 1999 Žalgiris, led by Tyus Edney became the first Lithuanian team to win the top European basketball competition, the Euroleague title.

Modern era[edit]

In the 1999-2000 season Lietuvos rytas shocked defending Euroleague champions Žalgiris by ending their dominant run. That sparked most likely the biggest rivalry in Lithuanian sports, the competitiveness has brought over to politics and society between the two biggest cities in Lithuania.

In 2000–01 season the Greens got their revenge by beating Vilnius in the finals. In 2001–2002, Lietuvos rytas, led by Ramūnas Šiškauskas and Arvydas Macijauskas, once again defeated Žalgiris. However, during the next three seasons Žalgiris took control of the league and outplayed Lietuvos rytas (2003, 2004, 2005).

In 2006, Lietuvos rytas joined Žalgiris in the strongest European basketball competition, the Euroleague. That season the Reds, led by Robertas Javtokas, Simas Jasaitis and Fred House, beat Žalgiris 4–0. But from then on Žalgiris started winning once again – two titles in a row (2007, 2008). In 2008–2009 Lietuvos rytas won the league, beating Žalgiris 4–1. The winners were led by Chuck Eidson, Artūras Jomantas and Marijonas Petravičius. In 2009–10 season Vilnius claimed first back to back title, beating Žalgiris 4–3.

2010–11 saw Kaunas reclaim the tile, beating Vilnius 4–1. 2011–12 season: Žalgiris was the winner again, which sweeping Rytas by 3–0. In the 2012-2013 season, a much more powerful Žalgiris easily dominated the league and Lietuvos Rytas, winning the series 4-0.

In the 2013-2014 season, Žalgiris, despite having reached the Euroleague Top 16 phase, struggled in the national league, finishing 4th in the regular season, while Lietuvos rytas finished 1st. That eventually lead to a semifinal between the two teams that played in the last 17 finals of the competition. After winning a dramatic series 2-1 in Vilnius, Žalgiris continued their run of having appeared in all of the finals since the league's foundation. Neptūnas would beat Tonybet in the second semifinal and appeared in their first LKL finals of club history. Even though Žalgiris saw their three-peat after winning the series 4-2, Neptūnas became the 3rd Lithuanian team to compete in the Euroleague next season. However that was the last time a B licence entry was given to a Lithuania club, as Euroleague officials decided that an A licence for Žalgiris would be enough.

The 2014-2015 season saw the introduction of the 'four wheel system', where all the teams have to play 40 games with no exceptions for teams competing in international competition like the past. This year Žalgiris was able to finished 1st, but not before a dramatic win against Lietuvos rytas in the last game of the season 82-81.

...there's no better advertisement for Lithuanian basketball than this match. The season is long, forty games, but everything is settled not only in the last game of the season, but in the last seconds of that game.

Gintaras Krapikas, head coach of Žalgiris

Žalgiris continued to dominate in the playoffs sweeping rivals Lietuvos rytas once again in the final. Despite a familiar ending, the season was marked by the growing competitiveness of the league, Neptūnas joined Žalgiris and Lietuvos rytas as a powerhouse and this edition saw a couple of upsets and close games from teams such as Pieno žvaigždės and Juventus Utena.

Six 2015–16 LKL season teams will participate in the European tournaments: Žalgiris (Euroleague), Lietuvos rytas and Neptūnas (ULEB Eurocup), Juventus, Pieno žvaigždės, Šiauliai (FIBA Europe Cup).[2] Lietkabelis, Vytautas and Nevėžis will compete in the Baltic Basketball League.[3] Dzūkija is the only LKL club not participating in any European or regional tournaments.

LKL teams[edit]

Podium by season[edit]

Classic LKL logo
See also: LKL Finals
  • In 1994–95, 1995–96 and 1996–97 seasons no bronze medal game was played. Positions are determined by regular season standings of the semifinalists.
Season Champion Runner-up Bronze Fourth place
1993–94 Žalgiris Atletas Statyba Lavera
1994–95 Žalgiris Atletas Lavera Šiauliai
1995–96 Žalgiris Atletas Olimpas Sakalai
1996–97 Žalgiris Olimpas Šilutė Šiauliai
1997–98 Žalgiris Atletas Lietuvos rytas Sakalai
1998–99 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Sakalai Šiauliai
1999–00 Lietuvos rytas Žalgiris Šiauliai Sakalai
2000–01 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Šiauliai Alita
2001–02 Lietuvos rytas Žalgiris Alita Šiauliai
2002–03 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Alita Šiauliai
2003–04 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Šiauliai Sakalai
2004–05 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Šiauliai Sakalai
2005–06 Lietuvos rytas Žalgiris Šiauliai Nevėžis
2006–07 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Šiauliai Neptūnas
2007–08 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Šiauliai Alytus
2008–09 Lietuvos rytas Žalgiris Šiauliai Neptūnas
2009–10 Lietuvos rytas Žalgiris Šiauliai Juventus
2010–11 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Rūdupis Juventus
2011–12 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Rūdupis Šiauliai
2012–13 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Neptūnas Prienai
2013–14 Žalgiris Neptūnas Lietuvos rytas TonyBet
2014–15 Žalgiris Lietuvos rytas Juventus Neptūnas

Performance by club[edit]

LKL trophy in Vilnius
Team Winners Runners-Up Bronzes Fourth places Winning years
Žalgiris 17 5 0 0 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Lietuvos rytas 5 11 2 0 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010
Atletas 0 4 0 0
Neptūnas 0 1 1 3
Olimpas 0 1 1 0
Šiauliai 0 0 9 6
Vytautas 0 0 2 2
Alita 0 0 2 1
Sakalai 0 0 1 5
Juventus 0 0 1 2
Lavera 0 0 1 1
Statyba 0 0 1 0
Šilutė 0 0 1 0
Nevėžis 0 0 0 1
Alytus 0 0 0 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]