תפריט
_enright button - season tickets _en _en
right button - season tickets

The First Ever

The 40th anniversary to the first game between a European team and a NBA squad is here. Guess who won

06/09/2018
HOME · History · The First Ever
The First Ever
No less than 22 times the yellows have faced teams and superstars from the best league in the world. Maccabi won five games, and with the first win reaching its 40th anniversary it's time for the story of Maccabi's first game ever against an NBA team.

The first chapter of a glorious basketball history book doesn't necessarily include a glorious beginning, but in Maccabi's case this was just how it all began. Maccabi's first European title really did "put them on the map" as they were not only the first European team ever to play against an NBA team they were also honored to face the then reigning champs, the Washington Bullets. 

In order to fully understand how Maccabi ended up setting two milestones in one evening we just had to sit down and talk to one of our all-time greats, Tal Brody, who saw the team he led to its first ever EuroLeague title beating the team who drafted him back in 1965. 



"When you are talking about events that have affected the country, there are two events that were the foundations to it all. The first one was the ‘Badalona Miracle’ and the second one was us making it to the Cup Winners' Cup finals game in 1967; it turned things around, before that it was never a sold out crowd in basketball and after it was almost impossible to get a ticket, and Levi Eshkol (i.e. Israel's prime minister) and Moshe Dayan (i.e. defense minister) came to the games".

But that was merely beginning as Brody recalls. By 1977 basketball became the national pride in Israel, and beating CSKA created a shockwave, "We beat a team from the USSR, 22 countries from which the best of the best were drafted and then enlisted into the army. countries like Lithuania, Croatia, Serbia that today their teams can stand in their own merit, and all of a sudden, along came Maccabi Tel Aviv, a team which they refused to play against for seven years".

So what finally convinced the Soviets to change their minds? The 1972 American connection as Tal unveils: "When I met the late Sergey Belov during the all-star weekend he said that they've convinced the Soviet government that they have beaten the American national team in the 1972 Olympics with only seven players, so why should they fear of Israel? So they agreed to play against us. The meaning of that game against CSKA and then the finals game on the country was immense".

Needless to say that in games like this motivation is not scarce to say the least as Tal explained the events that occurred on September the 7th 1978, events that entered the basketball pantheon: "In a game like this there is always motivation for the team that is playing against an NBA team, the extra motivation for sure was with Maccabi". 

"For them it wasn't such a big deal against who they are playing, they didn’t relate to who Maccabi was, they didn't even think about who is Maccabi. So all that balance was out, they came for a vacation and they didn't look at Maccabi as a team that is going to give them a match", Brody added.



Before the game and with no one really giving Maccabi a chance Lou Silver told the media: "The Bullets should expect a few surprises". When asked about the surprises Tal replied: "First of all you have to be realistic, it was preseason, and the NBA season is over 80+ games. They didn't came to see basketball, they came to see Israel. For Abe Pollin, a Jewish owner, it was very important for him to bring the team to Israel. Many teams did not come to Israel, they were afraid for their players so you have to take everything into proportion, the surprise was that Maccabi was in better shape than they were". 

And so it was, 10,000 fans at the Yad Eliyahu arena witnessed the Israeli champs in their new uniforms beating the Washington Bullets 98:97 thanks to great minutes by Mickey Berkovich and Moti Aroesti. The young Berkovich finished the game with 26P, Aulcie Perry added 17P and Jim Boatwright scored 16P. 

Beating the bullets has definitely caught a "few" people off guard "And they were surprised, even Abe Pollin (i.e. Bullets' owner) spoke at the American ambassador's house said he was sure they are going to win, they didn't even think about they were going to lose the game. 

With a huge upset going into the books and the pantheon our first chapter of the Maccabi-NBA history book comes to an end.



מכבי פייסבוק מכבי פייסבוק מכבי פייסבוק מכבי אינטסגרם
לוגו מכביסט

Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv Fans Club

‏Only Maccabist members enjoy full access to Maccabi events and special offers

Join now!
סמית
הטבות מכביסט
הצטרפו למועדון מכביסט
זכר
נקבה

תאריך לידה:
קראתי את התקנון ואני מאשר/ת קבלת עדכונים ותוכן שיווקי במייל ו/או SMS
×