INDIANAPOLIS, IN— The Basketball League held an important Zoom webinar on October 26th, 2020, with the Consulate General of Israel— in hopes of opening a door for the league’s future.    

The evening call ran over an hour and was surrounded by community spirit as team members, team market owners, and head coaches strolled in one by one. Despite it being completely virtual, there was still a sense of intimacy and unity—even though all participants were looking on from the other side of a screen. However, this thorough exposure allowed the possible space for a connection between The Basketball League and the State of Israel. 

The moderator of the Zoom webinar, Journalist David A. Goldstein, is the author of “Alley-Oop to Aliyah: African American Hoopsters in the Holy Land,” a compelling book that uncovers an authentic view of Israel—while also giving a reader a glimpse into sports, race, and history. This can explain Goldstein’s immense insight into African American player’s experience in the small country. While discussing aspects of the game in Israel, he called upon Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Basketball Champions Deon Thomas and Andrew Kennedy to share their experiences. 

 Deon Thomas and Andrew Kennedy discussed transitional elements while debunking perceptions and identifying realities of living in the holy land. Being open-minded was emphasized to players who attended the call, making it known that it is essential to succeed and remain fulfilled as an athlete. 

 “Being open to new possibilities is gigantic, do not cling to the familiar,” Thomas said. 

 Israel is a country with a strong religious presence, but it was also mentioned that it could also be a buzzing scene with its exciting nightlife. From prayers to family dinners, Kennedy said that coming together and playing in such a high vibrational area was eye-opening. The close-knit community made him comfortable and satisfied. 

 “I’ve never been anywhere and met with such warm reception,” Kennedy said. 

 As the Zoom call met its end, Goldstein made it clear that Basketball should be more than 94 feet of hardwood; it is about bringing communities together. An opportunity for players to learn and grow while advancing their careers is what each active participant had the chance to sit in on. This introduction to the “phenomenon” is only the beginning, and both Israel and The Basketball League could be on the road to something meaningful. 

 The league continues to showcase their ability to keep their members first, without just having a transactional relationship. This organization is more than just business, and a bright future is ahead for everyone involved in the betterment of The Basketball League. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Claudia McKinney/TBL Media Intern