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Friday, February 05, 2010

Israel's first NBA player is a star

It's been a big deal here in Israel that Omri Caspi was drafted in the first round by the NBA's Sacramento Kings, has been starting for the Kings, and has been playing quite well. Caspi is the first Israeli player to make it to the NBA (in the past, we've had a few players at some of the better college programs, but they have always come back to Israel afterward).

While in my perfect (and probably unrealistic) world, Caspi would not be playing or traveling on the Sabbath, one cannot help but be impressed with the fact that he apparently considers himself an Israeli emissary to Jewish communities in the US. And while Sacramento's Jewish community is small, Caspi has been a hit with the Jewish communities just about everywhere he plays on the road. The picture at the top was taken at a shul (synagogue) in Denver. Here's part of the story behind it.
Israeli NBA rookie Omri Caspi scored 14 points for the Sacramento Kings in their game against the Denver Nuggets this week, and although his team lost in the end, 109-112, Caspi was the clear winner as far as the local Jewish community was concerned.

Haggai Shoham, the Bnei Akiva emissary to Denver, Colorado, reported in an enthusiastic e-mail message that the game was very close, and Caspi gave it his all. Television viewers got to see the Bnei Akiva and Israeli flags waving proudly in the bleachers, he wrote, and all of the local channels carried the game.


Caspi made a surprise appearance at a dinner in one of Denver's synagogues wearing a kippah (skullcap) and gave autographs to all of the youngsters present.
Give him credit - he's a kid in a big man's body, but he has a very mature sense of responsibility to those around him.

Now, if only he could end up with the Celtics....


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