Sinai Says: Israeli basketball's personality of the year

Miki Dorsman, coach and owner of Hapoel Holon, proved himself to be one of the most decent men in Israeli sports.

Allon sinai 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Allon sinai 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Israeli basketball season is far from over, but as far as I'm concerned, the voting on its personality of the year is closed. Much criticism has been directed at Miki Dorsman for unconventionally holding the position of coach of Hapoel Holon as well as being the owner of the club. Personally, I agree with a great deal of what has been written and said, but for me all the on court issues were expunged last week after Dorsman made an extraordinary gesture. At the start of November Israeli sport was in a complete state of shock when security guard Yoav Glitznshtein lost two of his fingers after a Holon fan hurled a fire cracker onto the Malha Arena floor during a league game against Hapoel Jerusalem. The Israeli Basketball Association sentenced Holon to play four home games in front of empty stands for what had happened, enraging Dorsman, who claimed he had no responsibility for the actions of a single fan at an arena in Jerusalem. Dorsman spent millions of his own money to help Holon regain its BSL status and become one of the leagues top sides. The incident at Malha threatened to undo all of his hard work and he even sat out several of his team's games in the following weeks, saying he no longer had the passion to coach. Despite all of the above, Dorsman sent out hundreds of checks ranging from NIS 160 to NIS 200 to Holon season ticket holders last week, saying the fans deserved compensation for missing out on four of their team's games. Even though a so-called Hapoel supporter was responsible for jeopardizing Dorsman's life-project and caused him so much grief, the Holon owner decided that the rest of the team's fans deserved to be reimbursed. No one would have blamed Dorsman had he begrudged the supporters for what had happened at Malha, but he took a completely different course of action and proved that he's one of the most decent people in Israeli sport. Dorsman will find out in the coming days, however, that refunding the supporters was far cheaper than he had predicted. Many of Holon's fans took a leaf out of their coach's book and returned the checks to Dorsman before Monday's league game. The supporters said that the owner had no control of what unfolded at Malha and that it's not his fault that they didn't get to see four of their team's games. Holon is on course to play in the season ending Final Four tournament and is even dreaming of claiming the league title. The remainder of the season, however, is not as important to the club's future as many previously believed. Hapoel has cemented its place among Israeli basketballs leading clubs regardless of what it achieves on court in the coming months. The actions taken by its loyal support and especially by is gracious owner are an example to all clubs and ensure that Holon is here to stay. [email protected]