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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The coach, the rabbi and the referee

On Sunday, in New York, the New York Knicks defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 106-91. If it wasn't clear to everyone before, it should be clear now: Maccabi is not ready for the NBA. The Knicks are not an elite team (Boston, Cleveland and the LA Lakers are).

But tell me this isn't the weirdest story you've ever heard about a basketball game (Hat Tip: Shy Guy).
The coach has just been ejected from the game after being called for his second technical foul but refuses to leave the floor. And while the referee, the rabbi and a group of officials in dark suits try to persuade the coach to go to the locker room, the players start an impromptu half-court shooting contest.

The punch line is that this actually happened — during the third quarter of the Knicks’ preseason game against Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv on Sunday.

With the Knicks well on their way to a 106-91 blowout, Al Harrington was whistled for a charge and began complaining to the referee. Maccabi Coach Pini Gershon took issue with Harrington’s behavior, then proceeded to do the same thing. The referee did not care for Gershon’s comments and gave him the technical.

Gershon remained in front of his team’s bench, not far from where the former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert was sitting. It was as if Gershon were preparing to call the next play and put in a couple of substitutes. For a few moments, it seemed as if no one knew what to do with him, until a clutch of league representatives scurried over.

“He wouldn’t leave,” said Scott Jaffer, an N.B.A. security official who spoke with Gershon on the court. “I tried to talk him out of it. They wanted to stop the game.”

Sometime during the 10-minute discussion in front of the visitors’ bench, Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, with a long white beard, a black hat and a black coat, crossed the court from his seat to intervene.

Grossman is the founder and the president of Migdal Ohr, a center for orphans and abused and underprivileged children in Israel that benefited from the proceeds from Sunday’s game. And he saw it as his duty to moderate.

Not knowing that two technical fouls result in an automatic ejection, he attempted to persuade the referee to change his call and allow Gershon to stay.

“But he says that this is the law, that he must leave,” Grossman said, referring to the referee in broken English.

“What can I do? I tried. I tried to make peace.”

It was at that point that Gershon tried apologizing for his outburst, with Grossman behind him.

“This is not a regular game,” Grossman said he told the officials. “In a game for friendship, you forgive.”
Let's go to the videotape.

Heh. I'll bet you all regret now that you didn't enter that contest I posted last week.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I actually was at the event. I didn't notice what was going on, as I don't really care much for sports, and was really only going for the excuse to hang out with friends. Heh.


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