Israeli NBA star Deni Avdija
sent a special message to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day as he helped the Washington Wizards defeat the Orlando Magic 131-116 on Wednesday evening.
Avdija came in to the court wearing black and wrote the Hebrew word Yizkor
- which means "remember" - on his sneakers.
Israeli Washington Wizards player Deni Avdija paid homage to Israel's Holocaust Remembrance day with "Yizkor" (Remember) on his sneakers. (Credit: NBC SPORTS/COURTESY)
"Today, my heart was with my Israeli family and Jewish family all over the world to remember worst, or one of the worst, things to ever happen to our culture," Avidja said in an interview which was posted by the Wizards' Hebrew-language twitter account.
"There are some things that are more important than basketball, and I feel like the Holocaust is one of them. I did everything to represent and show that we will never forget this event," he said.
He said it was a special night for him, adding that "I'm blessed and I'm glad I had the opportunity to play on an NBA court and wear those shoes with those letters, and basically represent the whole Jewish community in Israel and all over the world."
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said he did not know of Avdija's plan beforehand but was pleased to see the Israeli commemorating the occasion while also playing an excellent match.
Avdija's form has continued to improve
during his rookie season, scoring 16 points - 4 of which were 3-pointers - and adding five rebounds and two assists, leading the Wizards to break their recent streak of losses.
The 20-year-old was selected as the ninth pick in last year's NBA draft, the highest pick for any Israeli in NBA history.