Omri Casspi, the first Israeli player to break through in the NBA, announced his retirement from professional basketball on Sunday. Casspi, 33, has spent the last two seasons at Maccabi Tel Aviv — where he first starred before being selected in the 2009 NBA Draft — but has been plagued by injuries. “Basketball has given me a lot over the years. I reached the peaks of European and world basketball that I never dreamed of. I did not believe I’d make those dreams come true,” he said in a statement.
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Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper said: “Omri Caspi has shown us throughout his career how much hard work, how much sacrifice is required, and how much determination is necessary when you want to become an elite athlete, when you want to break through.” “Omri is honorably ending his sports career today. I wish us, Israeli sports in particular and the State of Israel as a whole, more athletes and people who will lead us, on and off the playing field,” Tropper added.
Marc Stein: After 10 seasons in the NBA as his country’s first first-round draft pick, Omri Casspi is scheduled to announce his retirement at a news conference tonight in his native Israel. He spent the last two seasons back at @MaccabitlvBC, where he played with the Wizards’ Deni Avdija.
“The game of basketball has given me a lot over the years,” Caspi said in his opening remarks. “As a young boy from Yavneh who started playing with friends and my big brother, who did not really know what he was saying and went out with number 18 on his shirt, today on July 18 I retire. For the [Maccabi] family, this is a group that taught me a lot about professionalism, hard work, victory at all costs. It fell on very modest ears and I appreciate those values I learned”.
Eran Soroka: According to @sport5il’s @Roi Cohen – Omri Casspi, who went through some injury-filled seasons lately and had a 10-years NBA career, is about to retire from basketball at the age of 33.
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Goran Dragic talked to the Slovenian press before Saturday’s prep game against Montenegro and explained his motivation about his return to the Slovenian national team. “I predict the semi-finals, but then anything is possible”, said a smiling Dragic, who is ready to defend the title he won together with a young Luka Doncic back in 2017. However, after five years things are different and Dragic understands it: “In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult. My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but I believe that everyone has their own role in the national team and that there will be no problems. We all understand each other, we are one big team, and that’s why we can make a good result. That chemistry is what other teams don’t have.”
Dragic had also to convince the Chicago Bulls to let him play, something that was not ideal for them: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides. I had to go to Chicago, undergo a medical examination and everything else. When you go to a medical examination, you always wait for the results, because you never know what can happen”.
And Dragic knows that the Eurobasket will not be a walk in the park: “This will be my toughest championship so far. I think a lot of national teams have players from the NBA. I believe that we will have good chances. I did not return to the national team to play for fifth or sixth place. The desire is for a medal, but now, as I said, it is necessary to go step by step”.
Law Murray: For the first time since 2017, Norman Powell is playing today @DrewLeague for Hometown Favorites He is the first current LA Clippers player to play at Drew League since Montrezl Harrell in 2019. pic.twitter.com/7fDl7wv6Lv