For the past quarter of a century, basketball fans around the world have been eager to anoint the next Jordan (not the country, but the next Michael Jordan — by consensus the greatest player the game’s ever known). Every few years, a new athlete seems poised to assume the mantle, from Kobe Bryant to Tracy McGrady to Lebron James to… Tamir Goodman?
Wunderkind Bruce Pearl, the second-fastest National Collegiate Athletic Association coach in history to win 300 games, is also college basketball’s court jester and most boisterous booster. A grandson of Jewish immigrants from Sharon, Mass., Pearl, 47, has been bringing to bear his own combination of free-spirited offense and suffocating defense wherever he goes, most recently as head coach of the University of Tennessee men’s basketball program.
It wasn’t that long ago when comic books were consigned to the bottom of the literary heap — a stepchild genre printed on cheap, recycled pulp. But not anymore.
It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 Israelis living in New York City. Last Thursday, many of them were rocking the roof of Madison Square Garden as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s basketball squad faced off against the New York Knicks in what was undoubtedly the most raucous preseason exhibition game played at the Garden.
The ranks of the National Basketball Association have become decidedly more international in recent years. Steve Nash, the MVP two seasons running, was born in Canada to South African parents. Yao Ming, the top young center in the league, is from China. The star of the Dallas Mavericks is Dirk Nowitzki, a German national.
Last Thursday, at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York (not to be confused with a secret shed behind Bill and Hillary’s Chappaqua home), jailed rapper Shyne (né Jamaal Michael Barrow) assumed the name Moses Michael Leviy after a jailhouse conversion to Judaism. Having recently come to believe that he was descended