Israeli legend Mickey Berkowitz.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Israeli basketball legend Mickey Berkowitz was selected to the FIBA Hall of Fame on Wednesday, being named in a star-studded list that includes the USA ’s Dream Team, Shaquille O’Neal and Toni Kukoc.
Berkowitz, widely regarded as Israel’s greatest-ever basketball player and one of its greatest-ever athletes in any sport, won 16 Israeli championships, 13 State Cups and two European cups at Maccabi Tel Aviv, while also leading the Israel national team to second place at the 1979 European Championships.
Berkowitz will be inducted in FIBA’s Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at the House of Basketball – the headquarters of basketball’s world governing body on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland – on Saturday, September 30.
“I’m really excited. This is a great honor for Israel, for Israeli basketball and for Mickey Berkowitz,” said Berkowitz, the second Israeli to be named to the FIBA Hall of Fame after journalist and former sports official Noah Klieger. “I couldn’t believe it at first. I’m happy to have been given a place among the greatest basketball players of all-time.”
Among those to be inducted with Berkowitz are O’Neal (USA ) and Kukoc (Croatia), as well as three other former players: Pero Cameron (New Zealand), Rajiza Mujanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Valdis Valters (Latvia).
Joining them is coaching great Dusan Ivkovic (Serbia).
They were selected from a list of more than 150 candidates.
The USA Dream Team, which was the United States of Americas’ first-ever Olympic basketball team to feature active NBA players, will also be inducted on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its remarkable appearance at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where it won the gold medal.
“The 2017 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame distinguishes itself for the impressive amount of success these personalities have experienced on the court for their respective countries,” said FIBA President Horacio Muratore.
The FIBA Hall of Fame was officially inaugurated on March 2007 and has set itself the goal of reflecting the history of the sport and its personalities, with the key criterion for selection being an outstanding achievement at the international level and contribution to the development of basketball.