Imagine some unknown college team beating the Lakers in a game that counts. That’s how it felt last Sunday, when Hapoel Eilat, who has just gained entry into Israel’s top basketball league, defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 89-82 in overtime.
Since I was a child, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Maccabi Tel Aviv was a team apart, very much the NY Yankees of Israeli basketball. They were the one Israeli team that won European championships, year in and year out, and as it is some years with the Yankees, you the entire basketball season is often contested over who would get to play Maccabi Tel Aviv in the finals.
Well, last Sunday a scrappy American named Scotty Hopson, 6’7″, from Tennessee, led his Eilat team with 28 points to a David vs. Goliath win—in overtime—on the Tel Aviv near-permanent champs.
Some Eilat fans—and a few in management—cried like babies Sunday night. It was one of those unforgettable things.