October 18, 2005

Israel Defeats Canada

NBA teams have been known to often scrimmage with European teams during the preseason, and despite the influx of European players to North America in recent years, it's extremely rare for a North American team to actually lose to one of their international counterparts. But they didn't count on the Toronto Raptors...

On Sunday, the Raptors took on the Israeli club team Maccabi Tel Aviv, perennial Israeli champ and winner of three of the last five European League championships- and Maccabi came away with the victory. And adding insult to insult, the game was played in Toronto. Looks to me like it'll be a long year in Ontario- good thing for them that hockey's back.

True, most of the players for Maccabi aren't actually Israeli- their leading scorer in the game, for instance, was ex-Sixer Anthony Parker, only the second-best basketball player in the world with that name. But Maccabi's starting center in the game indeed goes by the distinctly Israeli name of Yaniv Green.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 18, 2005 01:38 AM

I'd imagine Maccabi T"A has more Israelis than Toronto has Canadians. Since there are limits on the number of foreign players that can play for Euroleague teams, a lot of those guys have crazy citizenships. Maccabi's former big star was Arriel McDonald - originally from North Carolina, but a Slovenian citizen thanks to a long tenure there. Maccabi now has Deon Thomas, the former Illini star, who is married to an Israeli woman and is now an Israeli citizen.

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