"I want to wish you mazal tov on your success in bringing a long-awaited championship to the great city of Cleveland and its wonderful people,"
By GIL HOFFMANUpdated: JUNE 22, 2016 01:48
NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert received a letter from Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai Tuesday asking him to give a championship ring to former Cavaliers coach David Blatt.Shai, who has met Gilbert in the past, wrote the letter as the head of the Knesset caucuses on US-Israel Relations and Strengthening the Jewish World.“I want to wish you mazal tov on your success in bringing a long-awaited championship to the great city of Cleveland and its wonderful people,” Shai wrote. “We in Israel were proud of the achievements of one of our own, David Blatt, when you appointed him as the head coach of your team, and we of course, were sorry to see him go. Nevertheless, Israelis remain strong supporters of the Cavaliers, as do their many Jewish fans in Cleveland’s strong Jewish community.”Shai noted that Blatt had won 53 games in his first season, a .639 winning percentage that was the best of any Cavaliers coach in team history. He wrote that when Gilbert let him go on January 22, the Cavaliers had the best record in their conference at 30-11.“David played a key role in building the Cavaliers, guiding its players, and helping the team become championship-caliber,” he wrote. “That is why I want to encourage you to give David the respect and credit he deserves by giving him a championship ring, as is customary for players who have left mid-season. I am sure he would cherish such a ring that would symbolize his part in your team’s success.”There is precedent for a coach who left mid-season receiving a championship ring.Former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy received a ring following the 2005-6 season, even though he resigned 21 games into the season.Blatt told Yediot Aharonot ahead of Sunday’s championship victory that he still does not know why he was fired and he had not been watching the games because it was too painful for him.A “virtual parade” will be held among some 150 Cavaliers supporters in Israel Wednesday during the team’s victory parade in Cleveland. The virtual parade was organized by #CavsIsrael, a fan group in the Jewish state that communicates on social media.
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