There probably isn’t a future NBA player like Lennie Rosenbluth, Danny Schayes or Ernie Grunfeld - all former Maccabiah participants before their pro careers - in the current games, but there is definitely a wealth of NBA talent coaching on the sidelines.
Most of the attention has centered around New York Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire, who is in Israel as the assistant coach of the Canadian men’s squad. Also prominent are Norm Nixon, a former star of the Los Angeles Lakers’ “Showtime” championship team, who is here coaching the Australian men’s masters team, Dolph Schayes, a member of the basketball Hall of Fame, who is in charge of the American men’s masters team and Brad Greenberg, once a high-ranking official at several NBA teams, who is coaching the U.S. men’s team. Greenberg led Maccabi Haifa to the Israeli league title this year.
Stoudemire’s participation in the Jewish Olympics is part of his widening connection to Judaism, which began when he visited here three summers ago. Since then he has been invited by Israeli President Shimon Peres to join the national team and has purchased part ownership in Hapoel Jerusalem.
Dolph Schayes and his son Danny are a father-and-son team of former NBA players. Dolph was probably the greatest Jewish player in NBA history, while Danny is an 18-year veteran of the NBA wars. Three generations of the Schayes family have participated in the Maccabiah over the years. “For us the games are a family affair,” said Danny Schayes, whose first Maccabiah appearance was as a high school senior in 1977, when he participated in the U.S. gold medal-winning men’s team, coached by his father. Over the years, three of Dolph’s grandchildren have been Maccabiah medal winners and a fourth is trying for a medal this year.
Read more at Haaretz.com.