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.
By URIEL STURMArik Henig, the sportswriter and filmmaker who brought NBA TV broadcasts to Israel 35 years ago, was laid to rest yesterday in Holon after passing away this week at the age of 72 following a heart attack.Among the family, friends and colleagues to attend the burial was Israel hoops legend Tal Brody.“Arik was a true friend to all players in recent years I felt something was missing,” said Brody. “I realized his health was bad. All the friends and people involved in basketball in Israel thank him for all that he did.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.“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.AdvertisementHenig 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 Amar’e Stoudemire.Henig also created a documentary film about the NBA All-Star game, and produced video clips about Gregg Popovich and LeBron James.