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Streetballin' in Jerusalem

by michael June 30 2011
Municipal newsSportsThings to do
Safra Square: better for basketball than government

Basketball. Long ago in the game's early days, before everyone realized they were not on the whole a very tall people, Jews were major players, significantly overrepresented on the court. And while the era of Jewish sports mastery has since passed, the Jewish state honors the Jewish heritage of basketball by reserving the sport second place in Israeli athletic affections (after soccer, of course). Maccabi Tel Aviv may be populated by nearly as many NBA castoffs as born Israelis, but they're our NBA castoffs, and we love them even if they sometimes embarrass us by losing to the Europeans.

Fortunately for basketball lovers in Israel, soon you'll have something to do other than read about which Americans and Brazilians are becoming Israelis under the Basketball Law of Return (The Law of Rebound?) - because it's time for the annual Jerusalem Streetball tournament. The tournament, which divides Safra Square into 16 basketball courts, is probably Israel's largest sports event open to any player, with teams divided by age. Public figures are getting in on the fun too, including players from the professional Israeli basketball leagues and Knesset ministers. Can those dour boys from Shas ball? Maybe you'll find out (or maybe not).

Other activities on tap include dunking contests, 3-point shootouts and showy performances by the Israel contingent of the And1 Streetball organization. Registration has already begun, so do not miss this once-a-year chance to shoot hoops with Israeli basketball's finest. You can register online at the Municipality's website, or in person at Safra Square. The tournament itself runs from 12 to 14 July.

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