Omri Casspi! Omri Casspi! Omri Casspi!

Every boy has dreams. Some want to be firefighters. Others want to be doctors. I, like many others, wanted to be a basketball player.

It didn’t work out (yet). In the mean time, I have grown into a pretty die hard Sacramento Kings fan. I read every article about them. I know everything about every player. I throw things when they lose, which is often.

Since the Kings have not won a championship in my lifetime, one of the highlights of the year for me is the NBA Draft. Having moved to New York this past year, and knowing that the draft was on the eve of my birthday, I knew that I had to make every effort to be there. So I did. And I was there.

While I was there for the Kings three draft picks, I was also there for another reason. As I reported a couple of months ago, Omri Casspi, from Maccabi Tel Aviv, was vying to become the first Israeli to ever play in the NBA. Not surprisingly, when I walked into Madison Square Garden, I spotted more than one Israeli flag and in my row was a kid wearing a Maccabi Tel Aviv scarf.

Casspi was projected to be picked in the late first round, possibly early second. The Kings had the 23rd pick. Could fate be on my side?

Yes. Yes it could. Right before the Kings picked, I told the kid in the Maccabi Tel Aviv scarf that if the Kings picked Casspi, I would have a seizure. Then, when David Stern announces the Kings have selected our boy from Israel, I lose it. The guys behind me are very confused why anyone would be so happy for a guy no one has ever heard of, but I didn’t care.

Honestly, about a quarter of the crowd must have been Jewish because everyone was cheering the pick. I even got interviewed by Ha’aretz about Jewish life in Sacramento. I can’t remember being more excited for a Kings draft pick. I think I have a new favorite player.

I can now say that I’ve experienced basketball bliss. Jewish basketball bliss.


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