Friday, September 24th 2021   |

Omri Casspi, first Israeli player in NBA, retires from professional basketball

(JTA) — Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to make it to the NBA, has retired from playing basketball professionally.

Omri Casspi of the Golden State Warriors in 2017. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Casspi, 33, began his career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, an Israeli team, and made history in 2009 when he was selected in the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings. A forward, he played in the NBA for a decade, with stints in Cleveland,  Houston, Memphis, Minnesota and the (San Francisco) Golden State Warriors. Locals will remember he was a New Orleans Pelican for a period of just three weeks. He wore the number 18, which in Judaism signifies life.

When the Warriors won the championship in 2018, Casspi got a ring even though he was not on the postseason roster. After the following season, he left the NBA and returned to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

He announced his retirement Sunday.

“Basketball has given me a lot over the years. I reached the peaks of European and world basketball that I never dreamed of,” he said in a statement, according to the Times of Israel. “I did not believe I’d make those dreams come true.”

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