Maccabi TA Doesn’t Care About Us, Why Should We Care About Them?

The American team in yellow just uses the local league as preparation for the much more lucrative EuroLeague

Eyal Gil
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Eyal Gil

David Blatt opened his league game against Holon with David Blu, and left out of the squad his most important player, Devin Smith. The semi-official explanation: Blatt wants to get Blu back in business, as well as Tyrese Rice, who has yet to gel with the team. What business, one might ask? What is more important than the opening game of the league? The answer is, of course, the EuroLeague, which kicks off for Maccabi today with a difficult away game at Vitoria.

Opening with a player who didn't take part in pre-season training, and isn't familiar with the team's drills, or even his teammates, sends a sad message to all the other players, reflecting Blu's status as well as his opinion of his fellow players. Still, the most obvious message is that Blatt and Maccabi Tel Aviv don't really care for us, its rivals or Israeli basketball as a whole. For Maccabi and Blatt, the league is no more than an arena for practice games in preparation for the real thing, which happens on Thursdays.

Therefore we, the sports fans and journalists, shouldn't be too excited about Maccabi’s games, whether it wins or loses. If the club sees the local league as a field for experiments, the attitude should be reciprocal. After Maccabi's games, the press should report the score in a tiny brief: An American team with an American coach, a Croatian director, an Australian player and a Greek center won – or lost – in the league. The rivals and score should be mentioned, but no more.

Real Madrid's D'or Fischer blocking the ball over Maccabi Tel Aviv's Sofoklis Schortsanitis during their Final Four semifinal basketball game on May 6, 2011. Credit: Reuters