Top Lithuanian basketball player left without job offers

Lithuanian is commonly known as a "basketball nation," but it turns out this enthusiasm does not apply to female talent, which is neither fostered nor promoted.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Lithuania
Top Lithuanian basketball player left without job offers - NewsMavens
Kamile Nacickaite, Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

If you've ever met more than three Lithuanians in your life, at least one of them probably claimed that "basketball is Lithuania's second religion." However, its 'saints', unlike those of the church, appear to be male-only. Women's basketball is not broadcast prime-time, and clubs struggle to secure funding.

Many basketball clubs are funded by municipalities, and far from all are generous to female sports talent. Two top teams of the previous years recently dropped out from the top league, mostly because of funding issues. One of the teams lost its training grounds because a men's club wanted the premises in order to enter a higher-ranked league. The women's team was disbanded. The men's team never made it to the top league.

Private sponsors find women's basketball 'unattractive.'

Basketball gained popularity in Lithuania in the 1920s. One of its pioneers was Elena Kubiliūnaitė-Garbačiauskienė, who learned about the game from Latvians and bought the equipment to practise it with other women. She translated the first basketball textbook from the German, but, fearing it would be unpopular due to its female authorship, decided to publish it under the name of Steponas Darius, who was a military officer and an athlete.

Details from the story:

  • Kamilė Nacickaitė (28) plays for Lithuania's national women's team. However, the professional basketball player is currently not employed by any club, although the season is well underway.
  • Nacickaitė (see her FIBA profile here) won the best basketball player titles in 2016 and 2017, and is the favourite of this year.
  • Currently she trains on her own in her hometown, and she has asked her agent not to forward her any offers that are way beyond her skills. "I want to enjoy basketball," she explains why she is careful not to commit to offers she would later regret.
  • She left Lithuania for the US when she was young and started her professional career, which took her to Italy, Russia and Turkey. She says the Turkish women's league is her favourite, because it is competitive and pays well, but due to the falling exchange rate of the lira, basketball professionals have suffered.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at