By Amy Samin
Just prior to tipoff in Maccabi’s third Top 8 game against Real Madrid, the club held a special ceremony honoring two of Maccabi’s great players from the late 1970’s – early 1980’s, Aulcie Perry and Earl Williams. Perry resides in Israel, but Williams flew in from the U.S. especially for the ceremony. The pair received rings from the Maccabi Tel Aviv Hall of Fame, and banners symbolizing their jerseys were hung from the rafters of Nokia Arena.
Perry was an American basketball player who became an Israeli citizen and still lives in Israel today. A slim, 6’10” forward, Perry had a spectacular shooting style, and was an outstanding rebounder who played excellent defense. Perry was one of the first big men to prove effective shooting from mid-range. He came to Maccabi at the start of the 1976 – 1977 season, from the Virginia Squires of the ABA. Perry played for Maccabi for nine seasons, during which time he won nine Israeli championships, eight Israeli Cups, two European Championship cups, and the Intercontinental Cup. He scored 3,016 points in Israeli League games, and 2,077 in Europe (fourth best of all time). Perry has become a part of Israeli folklore, and remains to this day a popular and loved figure in Israel.
The best forward ever to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Williams was a graceful rebounder and a shooting machine. He had an incredible ability to finish under the basket. He played in the NBA for four seasons before heading to Europe and Swedish team Alvik Stockholm. Arriving in Israel in 1979, Williams played with Maccabi for four seasons, during which time the club won four Israeli championships and four Israeli Cups. Williams also played in three European Championship finals, including the victory in 1981, as well as the Intercontinental Cup victory. In 64 European games he scored 1,227 points. Also famous for his stormy temperament, Williams always gave his all on the hardwood and Israeli fans were held in thrall.