In professional sports, winning is everything. Sure, both teams can play hard, but in the end of the day, if you don’t win, you’re not doing your job well enough. As I’ve mentioned countless times, I’m a huge Sacramento Kings fan. So it pains me to write this post, but it is absolutely necessary. If Omri Casspi only cares about winning, he probably should have stayed with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
If you were to think of the greatest sports franchises of all time, teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Yankees, Montreal Canadiens and Boston Celtics would come to mind. All of these teams have been dominant in their respective sports, and involved in some of the greatest spectacles their games have ever seen. But as amazing a feat 26 World Series rings is, for example, nothing compares to the dominance Maccabi Tel Aviv has had in the world of Israeli professional basketball.
In 1954, Ligat HaAl, or the Israeli Basketball Super League was founded. Two years later, a second professional tournament, the Israeli Basketball State Cup, began as well. From the get go, Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of two teams in the city (the other being Hapoel Tel Aviv), dominated the competition. It did not lose either tournament until 1960 and 1962 respectively. While their rivals, Hapoel Tel Aviv, took the championship away in both cases, Maccabi was able to rebound quickly and re-establish its dominance.
To say that Maccabi Tel Aviv has been dominant since would be an understatement. Since Hapoel’s 1960 championship team, Maccabi Tel Aviv has won 43 Ligat HaAl championships, giving them a total of 48. They have also won 36 State Cup championships.
Many look at a team like the Chicago Bulls of 1990s, winners of six NBA Championships as example of a team that was clearly far superior to its competition. But in all fairness to Michael Jordan, six championships does not compare to Maccabi’s unbelievable streak of championships. From 1970-1992, Maccabi Tel Aviv did not lose a Super League. Read that one more time. They did not lose between 1970 and 1992. 23 years!
To top things off, in Euroleague action (against the top European basketball teams) Maccabi Tel Aviv has won two European Cups, one Superleague Cup, and two Euroleague Cups. In other words, they aren’t lightweights.
The Kings on the other hand, uh…(holding back tears).
The Kings have actually been around since 1945, first as the Rochester Royals, the moving to Cincinnati, then to Kansas City/Omaha, then finally to Sacramento in 1985 (The Royals changed their name to the Kings when they moved to Kansas City because Kansas City already had a team called the Royals. That’s right Omri, the Kings aren’t even worthy of the name of the lowly Kansas City Royals).
Since the move to Sacramento, it’s been nothing but trouble. Some of the best highlights include drafting Pervis Ellison with the #1 overall pick in the 1989 Draft and being on the losing end of one of the most dramatic shots in NBA playoff history.
Hopefully I’m wrong though. Maybe Casspi will bring some Maccabi luck to the Kings. Because, frankly, recent history just isn’t cutting it.