|Born||April 27, 1971|
Klaip?da, Lithuanian SSR, Soviet Union
|Listed height||2.04 m (6 ft 8 in)|
|Listed weight||103 kg (227 lb)|
|College||Seton Hall (1990-1994)|
|NBA draft||1994 / Undrafted|
|Career highlights and awards|
Karni?ovas was born in Klaip?da to Mykolas, a basketball player, and Irena. Karni?ovas started his career in Lithuania, with Statyba Vilnius, while in high school, and played there until 1990. His father also played for Statyba and they are the only father-son duo to play for the team at some point in their careers. Expressing an interest in playing and studying in the United States, Karni?ovas earned an invitation to play college basketball at Seton Hall University following a recommendation of ?ar?nas Mar?iulionis to Seton Hall head coach P.J. Carlesimo during the 1990 FIBA World Championship. Karni?ovas was the first player from the USSR to play in an American college, and arrived there without knowing a single word of English. In four years playing for the Seton Hall Pirates, Karni?ovas helped the team win two Big East Tournaments and qualify for the NCAA Tournament four straight times, being the only player to start for all squads.
After trying and failing to draw interest from a National Basketball Association (NBA) team, Karni?ovas began playing overseas. His former college coach, P. J. Carlesimo, attributed his inability to play in North America to insufficient scouting and a more guaranteed financial return in Europe. Karni?ovas is one of the few players to have played in Europe's four strongest national domestic league championships, Spain (for FC Barcelona), Italy (Fortitudo Bologna), Greece (Olympiacos Piraeus), and France (Cholet). He reached the EuroLeague's EuroLeague Final Four three times, and led the 1998-99 EuroLeague season in free throw percentage (89.6%). He was chosen as FIBA's European Player of the Year in 1996.
Karni?ovas helped lead the senior men's Lithuanian national basketball team to consecutive bronze medals at the Summer Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996. He also played at the 1998 FIBA World Championship. He also played at the EuroBasket 1995, where he won a silver medal, at the EuroBasket 1997, and at the EuroBasket 1999.
Karni?ovas worked for the National Basketball Association's basketball operations office from 2003 to 2008, and afterwards became an international scout for the Houston Rockets for five years, while also directing the Adidas Eurocamp--a preparation tournament for European players picked in the NBA draft--in 2011 and 2012.
Karni?ovas was considered one of the top candidates to be the new general manager for the Brooklyn Nets in 2016. In 2017, Karni?ovas emerged as one of the candidates for the general manager position for the Milwaukee Bucks. On June 6, 2017, he remained as one of their three last original candidates, along with Wes Wilcox and Justin Zanik. On June 13, 2017, it was announced that only Karni?ovas and the Bucks' interim general manager Justin Zanik remained as top candidates for the position. Two days later, on June 15, 2017, the Nuggets made Karni?ovas their new general manager, with Tim Connelly moving up to become the team's president of basketball operations. The Bucks would eventually promote their director of basketball operations, Jon Horst, for their vacant general manager position instead. His first notable signing as a general manager was a multi-year contract with Paul Millsap on July 13, 2017. On February 15, 2019, Karni?ovas signed a multi-year contract extension with the Nuggets.