Schalit Maccabi 390.
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters))
This past weekend’s NBA All- Star festivities brought celebrities and athletes
from all over the world to Orlando to check out the best basketball players in
Included on the guest list was Gilad Schalit, the Israeli
soldier released five months ago after spending five years held in captivity by
An anonymous request on Schalit’s behalf for tickets to the
all-star weekend came recently from Jerusalem to the Memphis
The team, along with the help of super-agent Arn Tellem,
worked on behalf of NBA enthusiast Schalit to bring him to
According to Chris Wallace, GM of the Grizzlies, “The Grizzlies
played a role in helping Gilad get tickets for the entire all star
Wallace went on to say, “We received a request from someone in
Jerusalem on Gilad’s behalf, we took the request and moved it along to the right
Wallace who has visited Israel in the past said, “I had met
Gilad’s parents when I was in Israel a couple of years ago at the Schalit tent
set up in Jerusalem.”
Now, Wallace was able to meet Gilad himself, just
two days ago in Orlando.
“Having a chance to meet Gilad was a thrill for
me. I am so happy he got to have this dream experience,” said Wallace.
addition to the main event of the All-Star game, Schalit attended all of the
events of the weekend, including the Skills Competition, Slam Dunk Competition,
and Future Stars Game.
Prior to his trip, Schalit visited the United
States Embassy in Tel-Aviv for his visa.
While at the embassy, Schalit
had the opportunity to meet with United States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro
for the second time since his release.
Schalit, who was held in captivity
by Hamas since June of 2006, was released in a prisoner swap October 18, 2011.
An avid basketball fan, Schalit has been spotted at Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball
games since his release.
According to Wallace, “He is a huge NBA
To the best of Wallace’s knowledge, Gilad is traveling with
“When I saw him in Orlando he appeared to be having a great
time,” said Wallace.Andrew Gershman is a freelance sports writer from
Silver Spring, Maryland and author of the forthcoming children’s book
Day Maccabees,” about contemporary Jewish sports legends.