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June 29, 2016 / 23 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Firing of NBA Coach David Blatt Signals Rising Anti-Semitism

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Scratch the surface and watch the scum rise to the top.

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League has issued what amounts to an Internet “flash flood alert” over an outpouring of anti-Semitism aimed at Israeli American NBA Head Coach David Blatt.

The Cleveland Cavaliers front office dismissed Blatt five days ago — a coach with a winning record — and the move brought out all the vultures, particularly those with an anti-Semitic bent.

On its blog, the ADL warned readers Tuesday of an “outpouring” of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hatred on social media in the wake of Blatt’s dismissal.

Anti-Semitism flooded social media after the firing of Israeli-American NBA head coach David Blatt.

Despite having led his team to victory in the Eastern Division and to the Finals, Blatt was handed his walking papers on Friday, January 22 by general manager David Griffin, backed up by owner Dan Gilbert, for being “disconnected.”

An odd thing to say about a coach who was able to get a team to come up with a 30-11 season. By the time he was fired he had reached an 83-40 game record — a 73.2% winning percentage that is the highest for a head coach at the time of his firing in major pro sports history.

Blatt is the first coach to be fired with the best record in his conference, according to ESPN. But apparently what matters more to his detractors is the fact that he is Jewish and made aliyah to Israel in 1981. Perhaps it also matters that he became one of the best coaches in history on the European continent before coming to coach in the NBA.

The ADL noted “some … personal attacks against Blatt, who holds both Israeli and American citizenship. Hostile verbal attacks on individuals for being Israeli citizens or supporters of Israel appear to have become more commonplace in recent years both online and offline as well, as some look to demonize the Jewish state in any way possible.”

The organization added that this is not the first time “such open hostility against Israelis or Jews in sports has been expressed in such an ugly fashion on social media,” citing examples going back as far as 2014 and 2013. In those cases as well, the anti-Semitism was expressed in posts on the Twitter social networking site.

Hana Levi Julian

New Basketball League for People with Special Needs Launched in Israel

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Israel’s first ever basketball league for people with special needs was launched in Jerusalem on Monday evening, January 11, in the presence of Mayor Nir Barkat.

The unique league will enable Israeli basketball players with special needs, to experience for the first time an organized framework of competitive events and games. There are many special needs basketball teams throughout Jerusalem and Israel, but until now there had been no official or organized framework for such teams.

“Jerusalem is known for its outstanding variety of populations and opinions, but when it comes to tolerance and the acceptance of the disabled, there are no divisions and we all act together for the same goal,” said Nir Barkat during the event.

“I am happy to find out that Jerusalem is routinely placed first among Israeli cities in sensitivity towards the disabled,” he added. “There is no bigger privilege.”

The creation of the new league was initiated and developed for over a year by the Jerusalem Municipality and by the ‘Alei Siach’ organization, which acts to integrate people with special needs.

Rabbi Haim Frenkel, Founder and CEO of ‘Alei Siach’, said: “I believe with all my heart that the league’s activity will act as a firm bridge of understanding, which will help remove prejudices against youngsters and adults with special needs, and help integrate them in the community.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israelis Follow David Blatt to Cleveland for NBA Finals

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

The people who sat in seats one and two of row 12, section 120 at Quicken Loans Arena during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night weren’t your ordinary Cleveland Cavaliers fans.

Tomer Hulli and his father, Eli, made the trip from Israel to attend games 3 and 4 in Cleveland. Tomer, who lives in Tzur Moshe, a 25-minute drive north of Tel Aviv, has been playing basketball since he was 5. Hulli said he didn’t plan this trip, but once the Cavaliers advanced to the finals, he decided he was all in.

“A day after the Cavs made it to the finals I decided to come,” said Hulli, who lives just five minutes from Cavaliers head coach David Blatt’s home in Israel. “I paid $850 for tickets to Game 3 in the lower section and $600 for tickets to Game 4 in the upper deck.”

Hulli said he purchased the tickets on vividtickets.com on the night after the Cavaliers defeated the Hawks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals.

“The tickets are expensive, but you only live once,” said Hulli, who claims he’s a fan of the game, not just of the Cavaliers.

This isn’t the first time Hulli and his father have traveled to the United States.

“I’ve made about 10 trips to America,” said Hulli, who last visited in 2014, when he caught two NBA games in New York and Brooklyn. “We have a big family in Cleveland and also family in New York,” he said.

Hulli said many people in Israel have been waking up at the crack of dawn to watch Blatt lead the Cavaliers.

“Only the real sports fans wake up at four in the morning,” said Hulli, who frequently wakes up at that hour to watch the Cavaliers. “For Finals, I believe nearly everybody will wake up.”

Hulli said Blatt’s Cavaliers have the support of all of Israel, and the Cavaliers are a topic on nearly every Israeli‘s lips.

“Blatt and the Cavs are a huge deal here,” said Hulli, who plans to shop for his wife and kids during his down time in Cleveland. “The people of Israel love basketball. Blatt and Cleveland are all over the news in Israel. We are very proud that an Israeli coach is one of the best in the world.”

Despite that, Hulli said that if the Cavaliers win the NBA championship, the celebration in Israel wouldn’t compare to the one in Cleveland.

“For us coach Blatt is Israeli,” said Hulli, who believes the NBA Finals is the biggest stage in sports. “We hope he will help the team win. People in the USA must understand that there is basketball in other parts of the world and it’s not just the NBA. I see some coaches in the NBA who just stand and do nothing. That is not coach Blatt. Coach Blatt will teach them a lot.”

Hulli said he doesn’t know Blatt, and Blatt doesn’t know he’s attending the games in Cleveland. But he’s sure Blatt would welcome any Israelis into Quicken Loans Arena with open arms.

Hulli had a basketball career in Israel. He started playing professionally at age 18.

“Basketball is my life,” said Hulli, who lives in Tzur Moshe with his wife, Inbal, and three kids, Zoe, Romi, and Yanai. “I coach 200 kids here in two different clubs. I couldn’t survive without basketball because of how great of a game it is.

“I played 13 seasons professionally in two different divisions here,” said Hulli, adding his professional career came to an end when he discovered one of his daughters had a medical problem. “I’ve been a part of three teams that were promoted to Division One. Haifa, Netanya, and Lev HaSharon were the teams I enjoyed playing for the most.”

JNS News Service

Gal Mekel back in NBA with New Orleans Pelicans

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Gal Mekel, the second Israeli to play in the NBA, has signed with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Mekel played for the Pelicans on Saturday in a 120-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after his signing was announced. He missed his four shots and went scoreless, but the 6-3 point guard handed out six assists in 11 minutes.

Waived earlier this season by the Dallas Mavericks, Mekel signed a two-year non-guaranteed deal with New Orleans, ESPN reported.

The former Maccabi Haifa standout had remained in the United States working out with a private coach since his release by the Mavs.

The Indiana Pacers had been ready to sign Mekel in November following his release, but delays in renewing his visa tanked the deal, according to ESPN.

Mekel, who followed Omri Casspi as an Israeli to play in the National Basketball Association, had missed part of his rookie campaign with an injury and split his time in the NBA’s Development League.

JTA

Amar’e Stoudemire Scores Points for United Hatzalah

Monday, October 13th, 2014

The New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire has launched “Amar’e Saves” to promote a campaign that encourages youngsters to contribute to the Israeli ambulance service he has adopted as a cause.

A day before Sukkot began, Stoudemire filmed a video in his Manhattan apartment for the effort.

The campaign urges pledges by kids, individually or as a group, notably by tying donations to every point Stoudemire scores during the 2014-15 season. The Knicks will open Oct. 29 at home against the Chicago Bulls.

By Sunday, the campaign had 117 donors and $534 pledged per point.

Those raising the most funds will qualify for such prizes as Knicks’ tickets and a meet-and-greet with Stoudemire.

“Helping save lives is always a beautiful thing,” Stoudemire told JTA after filming with several New York-area Jewish teenagers. “It’s obviously something we all want to think about doing more of, but the fact that United Hatzalah has a much quicker rate for responding to emergencies is also very important.

“In today’s society, which is so fast, we need to be doing something about saving lives quicker, and United Hatzalah is doing that.”

Stoudemire became involved in the organization through his friendship with New York financier David Kleinhandler, like Stoudemire a co-owner of Israel’s HaPoel Jerusalem basketball team.

In an exclusive interview with JTA last year, Stoudemire discussed his spiritual connection to Judaism and his belief that he’s a member of the “Hebrew tribe.”

Stoudemire, a six-time all-star, is hoping to overcome the rash of injuries that relegated him to the bench last season.

After all, more playing time means more points — and more charitable contributions.

Hillel Kuttler wrote this article for JTA.

JTA

NBA’ Danny Green Post ‘LOL’ Selfie at Berlin Holocaust Memorial

Friday, October 10th, 2014

San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green posted on Twitter a selfie at the Berlin Holocaust memorial along with the caption “LOL” [laughing out loud] in the tweet, “You know I had to do it one time lol #Holocaust.”

That was the funniest line since someone said that America has gotten past its racist past by choosing a black president to clean up the mess.

After Green laughed all by himself at his selfie, he started reading the complaints and quickly deleted the picture and posted apologies in four tweets:

“Yes, mistakes do happen,”

“I want to sincerely apologize for the insensitivity of my post!

“I have great respect n understanding for this country’s history n wanted to continue chronicling my experience in Berlin.

“But showed poor judgement…sorry once again.”

Poor judgment?

Did he really even judge at all? Did he even consider the insensitivity of laughing at the Holocaust memorial for 6 million Jews gassed and butchered by the Nazis?

Would it have been “poor judgment” if some white basketball player took a selfie at a memorial for Martin Luther King with a caption “LOL My dream came true. He’s dead.”?

Green later changed the caption to read, “A lot of history here, more than you could imagine…very sad/tragic things happened #holocaust #berlin.”

Indeed, sad and tragic things are happening today. People like Danny Green are LOL at memories of the Holocaust.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Pro-Arab Peacenik Assault Jewish Leader after NY Nets-Maccabi Game

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Leonard Petlakh, the head of a Jewish Y in Brooklyn, was hospitalized for a broken nose Tuesday night after being punched by a pro-Palestinian protester following the exhibition basketball game between the NBA’s Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Petiakh’s 14-year-old and 10-year-old sons were with their father at the time of the attack while exiting the Barclays Center arena following the Nets’ 111-94 victory.

“The last thing I remember is this guy screaming ‘Free Palestine’ and then a really strong punch,” Petlakh told JTA. “To get bloodied in front of your kids, it really crosses all the red lines.”

The assailant ran away and Petlakh sought medical care and required eight stitches. He reported the incident to the police, who are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

Prior to the game, a reception was held to raise funds for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Fans verbally sparred inside the arena as the game was ending when pro-Palestinian protesters began shouting slogans and a pro-Israel fan grabbed a Palestinian flag from one of the protesters, according to Petlakh.

As the crowds spilled out of the arena and onto the street, one of the protesters took a swing at Petlakh.

The Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which sponsored the protest rally, condemned the attack.

“If something happened after the game, which would have been several hours after the protest ended, it had nothing to do with us or the demonstration,” JVP said in a press release. “(We) express our horror at the injuries that Mr. Petlakh suffered.”

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pro-arab-peacenik-assault-jewish-leader-after-ny-nets-maccabi-game/2014/10/09/

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