Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Tel Aviv’s NBA Hopes

Former Maccabi Tel Aviv player Tal Brody met with NBA team executives and former Commissioner David Stern about getting his city involved with a potential NBA European division

By: Graham Sigurdson & Daniel Koren

Published: April 14th, 2014 in Sports » Israel

This fall, Maccabi Tel Aviv will be headed to the United States for its first NBA exhibition games in five years.

Though they’ve yet to be confirmed, Maccabi Tel Aviv will reportedly play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 5th, and the Brooklyn Nets on October 7th, according to the team’s co-Chief Executive Officer Eli Drikes.

The last time the Israelis played in America was in 2009 when they played against the New York Knicks and the L.A. Clippers.

Perhaps more exciting then Tel Aviv playing in the States this year, though, is the potential of Israel joining a potential NBA European Division within the next decade.

Last week, Tal Brody, a former player for Tel Aviv, accompanied team executives to New York to meet with management for the Brooklyn Nets and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

During the All-Star weekend last February, current Commissioner Adam Silver said that while he is “committed to studying” expanding the league into Europe, they are “not on the top of my list right now.”

According to Brody, however, should the European Division come to fruition, Maccabi Tel Aviv may very well be a part of it.

Brad Pomerance, Senior Vice President for news and programming at JLTV, added “The Maccabi Tel Aviv brand is a very strong one, so it seems like a great fit.”

Boasting five Euroleauge titles and 50 Israeli championships, Maccabi Tel Aviv is the most well-known and respected team in Israel. They’ve had a long-existing relationship with the NBA, and vice versa, with Amar’e Stoudemire part-owning Hapoel Jerusalem, and Israel’s Omri Casspi and Gal Mekel playing for Houston and Dallas, respectively.

“It’s a great idea to have an academy in Israel,” Casspi said on Sunday to the JTA. “There are various talents not only in Israel but all over Europe that need to be developed and trained in a way to be successful in basketball and any other sport.

Concluding on the subject, Brody said that “If that ever happens – that an Israeli team would be in the NBA – I can rest in peace.”

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