Omri Casspi made history on Wednesday to become the first Israeli to ever play in the NBA. The rookie had a dream start, scoring 15 points in only 19 minutes. His team, however did not fare as well losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-89. Casspi made 7 of 9 shots and grabbed 3 rebounds.
Interviewed on Army Radio Thursday morning, Casspi was high spirited and pleased with his achievement, albeit disappointed with the game's result.
"I don't look at it on a personal level," he said. "I would have preferred to score 6 or 8 points and win than to score 15 [and lose]."
But the Israeli player said he had no time to dwell on last night's game. "I'm not concerned with peripheral issues. I'm very focused, working very hard, keeping my feet very much on the ground. I know what I need to do, I know how I need to work. I'm always preparing for the next game. Life in the NBA is very fast and we still have 81 games to play."
Asked by the interviewer whether the grandeur of the occasion had dawned upon him during the game, Casspi said that he had been very focused on the game, but admitted that the significance of his achievement had occurred to him.
"When I was in the dressing room [before the game], I sat and thought about where I had started...I saw in my mind everything that I had gone through - all the coaches, the ups and downs - and I said to myself: 'Wow, I'm sitting right now in the dressing room of an NBA team; around me are NBA players of the highest caliber in the world; I'm going to compete for the first time in an NBA game, which will be on the highest level I've ever played; and I'm making history for our country, being the first Israeli player.'"
"And I thought 'I've come a long way.' I had a big smile on my face and I said to myself: 'Let's enjoy this night.'"