JTA - An Israeli lawmaker reportedly has written a letter to the owner of the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers asking him to give a championship ring to David Blatt, the team’s former coach.
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Nachman Shai, of the Zionist Union Party, on Tuesday sent the letter to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, the Jerusalem Post reported. Shai sent the letter in his position as head of the Knesset caucus on U.S.-Israel Relations and head of a second caucus on Strengthening the Jewish World.
“I want to wish you mazal tov on your success in bringing a long-awaited championship to the great city of Cleveland and its wonderful people,” Shai wrote. “We in Israel were proud of the achievements of one of our own, David Blatt, when you appointed him as the head coach of your team, and we of course, were sorry to see him go. Nevertheless, Israelis remain strong supporters of the Cavaliers, as do their many Jewish fans in Cleveland’s strong Jewish community.”
Blatt was fired as head coach of the team in January. At the time of his dismissal, the Cavaliers had the best record in the Eastern Conference. Some claimed the team’s superstar, LeBron James, undermined the coach. Blatt had led the Cavs to the 2015 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. On Sunday night, the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors in a finals rematch, coming from behind 3-1 in the finals series to win in the seventh game.
Shai also wrote: “David played a key role in building the Cavaliers, guiding its players, and helping the team become championship-caliber. That is why I want to encourage you to give David the respect and credit he deserves by giving him a championship ring, as is customary for players who have left mid-season. I am sure he would cherish such a ring that would symbolize his part in your team’s success.”
In a season and a half at the helm, Blatt guided the Cavaliers to an 83-40 record; his .675 winning percentage was the best of any coach in franchise history.
Blatt sent a text message to the team to offer his congratulations, Sports Illustrated reported on Monday. “My Congratulations. An enormous accomplishment for the organization, a special and historic moment for Cleveland,” the text read according to SI reporter David Pick.
Blatt interviewed with several NBA teams in recent months for head coaching positions with no success. Earlier this month he signed on as head coach with Darüşşafaka S.K, a club located in Istanbul, Turkey. His two-year deal reportedly does not allow him to get out of his contract if an NBA team makes an offer.