The addition of locked-out NBA players to the team rosters of the Israeli Super League has added a totally unique dynamic to the current basketball season.
At the moment, about six percent of the locked-out NBA players – many of them international players who have returned overseas – are plying their trade in foreign leagues. Most of them are on two-month contracts or with open escape clauses, which allow them to leave as soon the NBA reaches an agreement with the Players Association.
Jordan Farmar (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Avery Bradley (Hapoel Jerusalem), J.J. Hickson (Bnei Hasharon Herzliya) and Craig Brackins (Maccabi Ashdod) are the four locked-out players currently appearing in the local league, while Trevor Booker, also of Ashdod, is waiting to recover from a pre-season injury.
All of these players have chosen to keep playing rather than sit out the lock-out like their colleagues, and each has his own reason. For example, Farmar, who is Jewish, has strong ties to Israel because he was raised by an Israeli stepfather. Bradley, who played only one college season at Texas before turning pro, and then lost most of his rookie season with the Boston Celtics due to injury, is playing to get added experience.
While none of these players are of superstar “instant impact” caliber, all are expected to make a significant contribution to their new teams. Though none of the players or coaches interviewed by Haaretz claimed to be overly concerned by the lock-out, the specter of the labor dispute, and just when it will end, still hovers in the background.
Hickson had 20 points in his debut with Bnei Hasharon on Sunday, but his team was still blown out by host Hapoel Holon. Farmar, whose adjustment has been slowed by injuries, fouled out with just six points against Barak Netanya last night (see story). Bradley and Brackins are all still getting acclimated. According to Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, “Any player who hasn’t played in Europe, even an NBA player, has to be expected to go through an adjustment period to European basketball, and the pace of adjusting is usually connected to the player’s attitude.”
The difference between style of play and rules has often been cited.
International basketball allows a lot more contact than the NBA, and the style of play is basically team oriented rather than based on stars and individual talent. Foreign players cite the Israeli league as very, very up-tempo, which makes it a fun place to play, and the rabid fans and small intimate arenas are reminiscent for them of high-school basketball in America.
Brackins has probably made the quickest adjustment so far, scoring an impressive 23 points in his second league game last week against Elitzur Netanaya. “He came here to learn and invest,” says his coach at Ashdod, Ofer Berkovicz. “And he’s been improving all the time.”
Israel enjoys an excellent reputation among American basketball players these days. The abundance of good weather, good food, beautiful women and English speakers, plus a more than acceptable level of basketball, has been passed through the grapevine and makes players choose la dolce vita here despite the risks of a Katyusha crashing down on a local arena. When asked, Brackins explained his choice of Israel over offers from other foreign leagues. “I have a lot of friends who have played here and every one of them simply raved about this place,” he said.
Local teams are buying into this two-month rent-a-pro program after years of experience of foreign players coming over and leaving in mid-season for one reason or another. They go and another player is brought in to replace him. According to Berkovicz, “We see Craig (Brackins ) as an important addition, but it’s clear we aren’t building the team around him.”
Reasons for using locked-out players can vary from team to team. Bnei Hasharon coach Roi Hagai told Haaretz, “We are doing this as a favor to our fans. It gives them a chance to see an NBA player right in front of their eyes rather than on TV. After all, we are involved in show business here, and it also advances the league.”
As usual, Maccabi Tel Aviv is thinking two steps ahead. When asked if they have a contingency plan for the day Farmar leaves, coach Blatt told Haaretz: “That was one of the reasons we brought in Theodoros Papoloukos.”
Regarding Farmar, he added, “As a Jewish player, with a strong connection to Israel, we are rolling out the red carpet to Jordan in the hope that he’ll come back later in his career.”
Christopher Isherwood did not go to see the musical “Cabaret.” “I’ve never seen it … Everybody warned me that I wouldn’t like it,” he said in a 1970 interview with Otto Friedrich, author of “Before the Deluge: a Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s” (Harper & Row, 1972 ). But was the writer really never tempted to see the stage version of his successful book, “Goodbye to Berlin”? “Oh, I’ve seen vulgarities so often,” he answered. “They always manage to find out you’re in the theater, and then there’s the question of going backstage. Why pull a long face, and be nasty and ungracious? It pays me money, so why fight the goose that lays the golden egg?”
Olla Shor-Selector, Aki Avni, Itay Tiran, Miki Kam, Gadi Yagil and the actors appearing in the Cameri’s new production of “Cabaret” in Tel Aviv, directed by Omri Nitzan, will also not have to suffer criticism by the blue-eyed British-American writer, who was born in 1904 and died in 1986. But the “Cabaret” goose – appearing on stages all over the world, made into a successful movie and added to the 20th-century pantheon of popular culture – continues to lay golden eggs, despite the reservations voiced by Isherwood. The writer did agree to see the film, whereupon he declared that its makers had exaggerated the decadent lifestyle in pre-Nazi Berlin, were unfaithful to the book’s restrained tone and some of the political messages it contained, and approached the subject of homosexuality as if it were an embarrassment.
$79 Individual with tables of 10 available
Breakfast will be served
Advance registration is required
– numbers are limited
For tickets call (416) 306-0899,
Birkin, who was married to Serge Gainsbourg, will sing the famous French writer’s best repertoire at Reading 3 club in Tel Aviv January 13 and 14
British singer Jane Birkin is slated to come to the region for two concerts in Tel Aviv and two concerts in Ramallah.
Birkin, who was married to Serge Gainsbourg, will perform at the Reading 3 club in Tel Aviv on January 13 and 14. Tickets will be sold for NIS 279. The dates for her Ramallah gigs have yet to be finalized.
In an intimate show, Birkin will mark 40 years of her husband’s provocative album “Histoire de Melody Nelson” – of which she was part of – and 20 years since his passing. Birkin will also perform his best repertoire.
The relationship between Gainsbourg and Birkin began on the set of the movie “Slogan”. The two fell in love and were considered one of the most famous couples in France during the 1960s. In 1969 they came out with the hit single “Je T’aime, Moi Non Plus”, which stirred uproar in France because of Birkin’s sexual moans that were included in it.
Two years later, their daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg was born, who later became a famous actress in her own merit. Over the years, Gainsbourg penned many songs for Birkin, which have become an inseparable part of French culture.
In the 1980s, after the two had separated, Birkin was forced to fight her “Lolita who drags along behind Gainsbourg” image, and to prove herself as an actress and singer.
Despite the breakup, Gainsbourg continued writing songs for her. In the beginning of the 1980s, the two created a joint record, “Baby Alone In Babylon”, which was highly successful.
At the end of August, there were only four major players competing over the dominance over the 3D motion sensor market which develops technology for capturing body motion and converting it into digital information for games, home appliances and cellular devices
Three of the four contenders, which own leading patents in the industry, are well known giant corporations Microsoft, Apple and Qualcomm. The fourth is a small Israeli company named XTR otherwise known as Extreme Reality.
The Israeli company developed technology that can turn any digital or web camera into a state of the art 3D sensor.
XTR, however, is not the only Israeli company which deals in motion capturing technology. The most well known Israeli company in the field is PrimeSense which sells 3D motion sensors to Microsoft.
The company supplies Microsoft with millions of PCBs at $10 a piece and estimates are that it cut a $100 million coupon on the sales of 10 million unites of Kinect – Microsoft’s motion sensor which is based on Primesense’s technology.