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Valanciunas proud to be part of film on 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team

Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas grabs a rebound against the Detroit Pistons during pre-season NBA action in Toronto on Friday, October 12 2012.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Most people are aware of the basketball skills of Jonas Valanciunas, the 7-foot rookie centre with the Toronto Raptors.

Those who are interested in checking out the 20-year-old's acting skills should try to catch the documentary The Other Dream Team in which Valanciunas plays a prominent role.

The move tells the incredible story of 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team and its athletes who had struggled under Soviet rule before finally gaining independence in 1990.

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Lithuania's basketball team participated for the first time as an independent country in the Olympics at Barcelona in 1992 where the team defeated its former oppressors to capture the bronze medal.

The movie details how the Lithuanian side, broke and desperate to raise funds for the team, gained an unexpected ally in the rock band The Grateful Dead, who provided the team with its tie-dye warmups with the distinctive skeleton logos.

The story of Valanciunas, who was born in Lithuania in 1992 and would go on to be Toronto's first-round draft pick, the fifth player chosen overall in 2011, is also woven into the narrative.

Valanciunas attended a special screening of the movie in Toronto on Thursday night, the fifth time he has watched it since it came out. Toronto coach Dwane Casey also attended.

Valanciunas said it is now his favourite flick, replacing Borat.

"That was a great movie to show how it was in Lithuania at that time," Valanciunas said on Friday after the Raptors shootaround in preparation for their game Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Air Canada Centre. "For me, it's like a really important movie."

Valanciunas said he enjoyed his "acting" and said perhaps he would be interested in trying it again, wondering if they're still any available parts in the upcoming Hangover III movie.

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As for his basketball career, it is still on hold for Valanciunas, who remains on the mend from a broken right ring finger.

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