The Jerusalem Post

Omri Casspi calls it a career

First Israeli NBA player retires at 33 • ‘I reached the heights’


Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, officially announced his retirement as a profession­al basketball player on Sunday night.

Casspi decided to step away from the court at age 33 and hang up his sneakers on his own terms after having a couple of frustratin­g injury-filled seasons since returning to his homeland after a decadelong career in the world’s greatest league.

“The game of basketball gave me a lot over the course of the years,” Casspi said at a special press conference held at the Maccabi Tel Aviv Hall of Fame. “I was able to reach the heights of basketball and European basketball that I never ever dreamed of. The level of where I was able to go toe to toe with the legends of the game like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

“I worked very, very hard to accomplish what I did .... I feel that I have made this decision with a full heart.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Ioannis Sfairopoul­os said

leaders to be invited to Biden’s White House is to signal that the administra­tion’s long-standing allies matter. This in and of itself can go a long way to buttressin­g the king’s domestic and regional position, and strengthen­ing a key bilateral relationsh­ip.”

The meeting on Monday is the first in a series of meetings with Middle East leaders. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will meet Biden at the White House on July 26, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected later this summer.

“While the Biden administra­tion remains focused on not having the Middle East consume his foreign policy agenda, these upcoming visits may highlight a recognitio­n that to preserve and pursue the regional stability that is in the US interest – and avoid the need for constant firefighti­ng – tending key relationsh­ips can go a long way toward fireproofi­ng traditiona­l flash points,” says Kurtzer-Ellenbogen.

“A robust push to the negotiatio­n table on the Israeli-Palestinia­n conflict is not likely in the cards, or even an interest of the parties and key stakeholde­rs like Jordan,” she continued. “However, the US and Jordan do seem to share a view that re-centering the twostate solution as the political horizon for the conflict is a national security interest. Beyond that, King Abdullah will undoubtedl­y have in mind steps beyond the re-articulati­on of that formula that he would like the US to take or push for, to address conflict drivers, particular­ly around Jerusalem. How much ground can be covered in this first meeting is unclear, but certainly the issue will figure prominentl­y on the two leaders’ agenda.”

“New leadership in Israel seems to have also opened some space for strengthen­ing bilateral Jordanian-Israeli ties after years of strain, with recently concluded water and trade agreements between the two countries,” Kurtzer-Ellenbogen noted. “The Biden administra­tion has already praised these deals and will no doubt encourage further mutually beneficial cooperatio­n between these two key US regional allies.”

She added “the opportunit­y and optics of the White House meeting in itself goes a long way to achieving a key goal of King Abdullah on this trip: a clear signal that the traditiona­lly strong US-Jordan relationsh­ip is on solid ground and the US administra­tion considers the Hashemite Kingdom a key ally in pursuit of Middle East stability.” •

 ?? (Dov Halickman Photograph­y) ?? OMRI CASSPI won four Israeli league titles, two state cups and a Sixth Man of the Year award, along with an NBA championsh­ip.
(Dov Halickman Photograph­y) OMRI CASSPI won four Israeli league titles, two state cups and a Sixth Man of the Year award, along with an NBA championsh­ip.

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