HE JUST JOINED THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS IN JUNE, and now Omri Casspi has suffered a knee injury of some sort while training with Israel’s national hoops team, which may keep him out of EuroBasket.
According to eurobasket.com, Casspi, the first Israeli-born player in the NBA, slipped during practice on Wednesday, will have physical therapy for two weeks and is questionable for the EuroBasket championships in Lithuania. The team is trying to finish in the top six in the EuroBasket tournament, which would qualify it for next summer’s last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament, where the final three teams to win London 2012 bids will be decided.
“The knee is not something you play around with,” Casspi Tweeted his fans, “I did MRI and there’s nothing to worry about. Now, I’m taking good care of my body and I won’t be back before I’ll feel 100%. I’m getting treatments everyday. 2-4 weeks recovery time. But again, nothing is torn and I’m just fine.”
Because of the NBA lockout, the Cavaliers cannot contact Casspi or comment on the reports. However, a source close to Casspi said the injury was minor and the player was fine, and not only that, now there’s a confirmation that Omri Casspi has negotiated a contract to play with his former Israeli basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, during the NBA lockout.
From the blog of Rabbi Michael Green
From surviving the Holocaust and continuing on the Rabbinic dynasty that he hails from, to serving as the Chief Rabbi of Israel and now Tel Aviv—Rabbi Lau remains a legendary figure to all of Jewry. On the complete opposite spectrum stands the legendary Lakers Center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr., he had a prolific college and NBA career becoming one of the best basketball players of all time. In 1971 Lew Alcindor converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. To the naked eye it would seem that the only thing he shares in common with Rabbi Lau is that they are both luminous figures.
And yet, these two men—one a Jew and another a Muslim—are eagerly looking forward to meeting one another this July in Israel!
The former NBA star is making a film about none other than World War II, and will honor the final wish of his father. You see, Ferdinand L. Alcindor Sr., had one dying wish. He requested that his son visit Israel and meet the little boy that he personally rescued from Buchenwald and turned into a prominent Rabbi. This Rabbi is none other than Rabbi Lau!
Indeed, Rabbi Lau, who also serves as chairman of the Council of Yad Vashem remarked that, “the fact that such a famous basketball player, and a Muslim, is about to attach himself to the Holocaust issue is very exciting. I will certainly give my blessing to this initiative.”
Rabbi Lau said he clearly remembers how an African American solider came up to him during the liberation, picked him up, and told the residents of the German city of Weimer: “Look at this sweet kid, he isn’t even eight yet. This was your enemy, he threatened the Third Reich. He is the one against whom you waged war, and murdered millions like him.”
Karim Abdul-Jabbar commented on this story on ESPN, and apparently there was a mistake that happened due to the language barrier of an Israeli reporter:
“That story — people have gotten that all mixed up. There was a reporter in Israel who put my father into the tank battalion that liberated Dachau. My dad was a police officer in New York. One of the guys that he was a police officer with was in a tank battalion that liberated Dachau. Rabbi Lau was a boy in Buchenwald, which was also liberated by black troops, but it was a totally different group than the one that my dad’s friend was in. The group that helped liberate Buchenwald was the 183rd Combat Engineers, an all black unit.”
By Yanir Dekel
A VERY INTERESTING STORY IS TAKING PLACE IN THE SPORTS SECTION of the Israeli news these days. Two Americans, Dan Adler and Adam Levine, have bought Jerusalem’s leading football team – Beitar Jerusalem – and according to all reports are going to invest a staggering $10 million in the team in the forthcoming soccer season.
Adler is a Los Angeles veteran of the new media and Hollywood film and television industries, while working as an executive for CAA and then as a vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering. He was a Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the special election to fill California’s 36th Congressional District seat. As of May 18th 2011, Adler received 0.5% of the vote, below the 50% needed to avoid a runoff election and behind Democrat Janice Hahn and Republican Craig Huey who will square off in the runoff election in July.
The interesting fact about Beitar Jerusalem’s new “situation,” is that the team’s advocates are known in Israel as very right wing. Very often you can hear them shout “Death to Arabs” in soccer games, as well as other racist chants. While Adler, a son of a Holocaust survivor, is a very left wing idealist, and is a regular donor to Causes.com and other non-profit organizations that fight against racism.
During interviews with Israeli media, Adler mostly avoided politics, but said “I know Beitar has a certain reputation – or rather, that a portion of the fans has a certain reputation…We believe that Jerusalem is a city where all types of people must live,” and said, “We will change the character of the crowd.”
Beitar Jerusalem was once one of Israel’s wealthiest teams, but has suffered a series of financial and administrative problems in the last half-decade.
The last time the team won the Israeli soccer championship was in the 2006/2007 season. Adler and Levine’s goal for the team is to turn it into the Israeli equivalent of the American Boston Red-Socks. We should live to see *that* happen!
By David Caspi
BASKETBALL PLAYER RON ARTEST, one of the NBA’s premiere defensive players, is reportedly looking into playing in the Israeli National Basketball league. Artest (31) has been a part of the Los Angeles Lakers squad for the past two years, after signing a 5 year contract in July 2009. The recent NBA lockout, which could very well result in a cancelation of the upcoming 2011-2012 season, has made the baller’s representatives let it be known that they are currently in the market for a European team for him to play in if a strike was to occur.
Less than two weeks since the NBA lockout went into place, amidst refusal from players to agree to a 25% pay cut upon team owners’ request, the Los Angeles Lakers forward has already been linked in various international reports to two different European destinations – in Finland and England – have been debunked by Artest’s agent, David Bauman.
Now, however, Bauman has stated that if Artest was indeed to temporarily join a high profile European team “It would be either in Israel, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Italy or France”. Israeli basketball got its notoriety greatly due to Macabbi Tel Aviv Basketball Club, the fourth-most successful club in European history, and one of the most successful teams of the past decade in European basketball, having won three titles and reached the finals five times in that period. If Artest was to join the Israeli League it is quite possible that Macabbi would be the only club who would be able to afford him.
Artest, who has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004, was a major participant in the Pacers–Pistons infamous brawl. He has lost approximately $7 million in salary due to the suspension for his involvement in the brawl. Artest is also known for his sometimes eccentric, outspoken behavior, on one occasion dyed his hair yellow and then added in purple the word DEFENSE in Hebrew (HAGANAH) as well as in Japanese and Hindi, meaning he’s no stranger to the language of the holy land.