The man who put the NBA on the map in Israel

Arik Henig, the sportswriter and filmmaker who brought NBA TV broadcasts to Israel 30 years ago, is about to publish a book on the subject.

March 18, 2015 05:59
1 minute read.
 Arik Henig and Michael Jordan in 1984

Arik Henig and Michael Jordan in 1984. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Arik Henig, the sportswriter and filmmaker who brought NBA TV broadcasts to Israel 30 years ago, is about to publish a book on the subject.

Henig, who traveled to the US in 1984 to interview the then-newly installed NBA commissioner David Stern, also met a young player named Michael Jordan.

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“The meeting with both of them changed my life and made the NBA in Israel the subject of my life’s work,” said Henig.

Henig began marketing NBA paraphernalia and clothing in Israel and in the winter of 1991, during the Gulf War, he used his connection with Stern to begin broadcasts of NBA games on the then-trial Channel 2.

“Those games with Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird created NBA enthusiasts in Israel, and the rest is history,” said Henig.

Henig would host pre-game shows and travel to the US for all-star games and championship series, bringing Israeli viewers firsthand interviews with Jordan, Johnson and other superstars of the day.

The NBA and his relationship with Stern proved to be a door opener: He became the official NBA representative in Israel, organizing exhibition games, setting up training clinics with the likes of Julius “Dr.

J” Erving, and playing a role in the Israel visits of stars like then-New York Knicks’ forward Amare Stoudemire.

Henig also created a documentary film about the NBA All Star game, and has produced successful video clips about Gregg Popovich and LeBron James.

Jordan and Stern are both retired, but their connection to Israel will remain alive with the publication of Henig’s 30 Years in the NBA.

Maya Pelleg contributed to this report.

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