Tal Brody didn’t even know he was nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame when I
spoke to him on Tuesday to get his reaction.
Mickey Berkowitz had only
found out of the prestigious honor earlier in the morning from son,
Brody and Berkowitz have seen and done it all, but both Israeli
sports legends were as excited and proud as I have ever heard them since their
illustrious basketball careers came to a close decades ago.
The two were
elated at being named among 13 International nominees announced on Monday for
the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for 2013.
The list includes the
likes of former superstars Vlade Divac, Sarunas Marciulionis and Oscar Schmidt,
with the International Committee to vote in only one candidate as a Direct Elect
into the Class of 2013.
This Direct Elect will be announced in February
at the NBA All-Star Game, and while Brody and Berkowitz are no more than outside
shots to be selected, they were over-the-moon simply to hear that they had been
“I’m part of a very very respectable list,” said Berkowitz,
who was informed of the news by his son while sitting in traffic during
Tuesday’s stormy weather.
“I didn’t know it was coming and I was really
excited when Roei called me to let me know that he had read it
Brody hadn’t even heard he was on the list and was initially
lost for words.
“I think it is one of the most beautiful honors for any
basketball player to receive,” he told me. “Simply to be considered is a great
honor. Whatever will be, will be but I think it is beautiful.
inducted would be the best thing any basketball player could wish
Tal and Mickey were at the Hall of Fame in Springfield,
Massachusetts, four years ago when Maccabi Tel Aviv was honored with an
exhibition as part of the celebrations for Israel’s 60th
Brody saw a special significance in the fact that both he
and Berkowitz were nominated on the same list as their careers had always been
Berkowitz admitted that realistically there is little chance
that either he or Brody will be selected, but felt that the nomination in itself
was cause enough for celebration.
“I don’t think that I will be inducted
from a list which includes 13 names like this, but it is huge just to be
representing Israel and the Jewish people,” he explained.
“I feel like
I’ve already made the Hall of Fame simply by being on the list. I’ve received
plenty of recognition down the years, but to be inducted would be
There are no two Israelis who deserve a place in the Hall
of Fame more than Brody and Berkowitz.
Here’s hoping that one of them
receives the recognition he has fully earned next month.