Israeli Professional Basketball!
Last Thursday night I attended my first international professional basketball game. It was much different from going to an NBA game. So where do we start? Well I quickly found out that our tour guide Ronen was a huge basketball fan and asked if I wanted to attend his favorite teams game last Thursday. Well I am a sports fan and when will be the next time that I will ever get the chance to see an Israeli professional basketball game.
So with Jay and Mary Hoffmann and Jodie Hart and her son Michael we went to the Hapoel Jerusalem – Bnei Hertzfliyya game. The best way to describe Israeli basketball is that it is a lot like an international soccer game. Fans wear there teams colored scarves and they have a big drum and sing their cheers throughout the game. Another thing that stands out is corporate sponsorship’s are big in this league. I counted 14 corporate logos on the court. The main league sponsor is “Winner” which is the national lottery of Israel. Also the players have up to three business logos on their uniforms and yes even the officials working the game have sponsors.
Now it would be impossible for Israel to form a league with just national talent. You see in the nation of Israel they do not have high school or college basketball. So each team can have up to 8 international players on their roster, but they must have at least two Israeli players on the court at all times.
One of the best things about this international game was that the flow was much better than an NBA game. No long media time outs and even though the contest was close we did not have several time outs in the last two minutes. Also the single best thing….all of the fans were paying attention to the game, I did not notice anyone looking at their cell phones. Plus no alcohol was served at the game and during half time several men were conducted their evening prayers.
Who won the game….the home team of course 84-82.