View Full Version : an article from the Washington Times on the Nighthawks "Jewish Jordan"

12-06-2007, 10:46 AM

Tamir Goodman sat at the podium, a yarmulke covering his red hair. The one-time Maryland basketball recruit and phenom dubbed the "Jewish Jordan" by Sports Illustrated and featured on "60 Minutes" talked about finally getting an opportunity to professional basketball in America.

Goodman, now a 25-year-old father of two, has been on a basketball odyssey since becoming a cultural phenom as an unlikely star at the Talmudical Academy in Baltimore. The point guard never played at Maryland after verbally committing in 1998. It ended with a bitter breakup, partially over the Orthodox Jew's refusal to play on the Jewish Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday and partially over concerns about his ability to compete in the ACC.

He went on to play at Towson but left after two seasons following a dispute in which he accused coach Michael Hunt of holding a chair over his head and kicking a stool that hit Goodman's leg.

Goodman spent the past five seasons playing professionally in Israel.

Yesterday, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard sat between Randy "White Chocolate" Gill and streetball legend Tyron "The Black Widow" Evans while being introduced as the latest acquisition of the Maryland Nighthawks, a minor league team that will play in the inaugural season of the Premier Basketball League.

"Up until a couple of months ago, I thought I would finish my career in Israel because you don't have to play on Saturday, the Sabbath," Goodman said. "To me, this is a miracle."

Goodman will be excused from the three road games scheduled on the Sabbath, but there are no other conflicts in the 20-game slate.

The Nighthawks will make road arrangements perhaps leaving a day early to ensure Goodman does not travel on the Sabbath and will supply him with kosher meals.

"This is somebody who epitomizes not only our team but what the league should be," said Nighthawks owner Tom Doyle, who founded the family-friendly league. "It's not an issue. There are bigger concerns in life than basketball."

Doyle, who brought in 7-foot-9 Sun Ming Ming from China the world's tallest player last season when the franchise played in the American Basketball Association, worked out a deal with Goodman after the two began e-mailing a few months ago.

Goodman is expected to start when the Nighthawks open their schedule Jan. 4 at their homecourt at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda.

"Not that I seek out somebody because of their ethnicity or their religious beliefs, [but] he is somebody the Jewish community, and particularly the Orthodox Jewish community, want to see," said Doyle, who plans to take advantage of Goodman's celebrity to promote camps, clinics and merchandise. "He has that hero status."

Many around the Nighthawks know Goodman's story, but few have seen him play. Former NBA and Syracuse player Lawrence Moten is the new coach. He met Goodman for the first time yesterday and was impressed but is anxious to see how the star with the unusual background fares on the court.

"Everybody is curious," Moten said. "All I knew is he was the 'Jewish Jordan' going to Maryland, and then I kind of lost track. I talk to some guys who I consider to know the game, and they say he is not bad. If he played in Israel for five years, he can play the game. I think he will help the team and in the community. He attracts a different element."

12-06-2007, 11:49 AM
Israel's 1st and 2nd divisions are excellent in quality and especially the 1st division. If he played against a team like Maccabi Tel-Aviv who is a Euro League power house he will be more than fine in the PBL

12-07-2007, 06:50 AM
The same story from yesterday's (12/06/07) Washington Post:


Tamir Goodman is Back

Tamir Goodman and Lawrence Moten.
Say this for the Maryland NightHawks: no local team can touch their press conferences. Last year, you might remember, the NightHawks introduced 7-foot-9 Chinese sensation Sun Ming Ming at an event featuring Chinese food from Meiwah and guest appearances from Redskins receiver James Thrash and former Redskins guard Tre' Johnson.

Today, the featured newcomer was Jewish sensation Tamir Goodman, on the first day of Hanukkah no less, at Georgetown Prep, which happens to be a Jesuit school, where the tables were decorated with Santa Claus centerpieces and the spread of deli meats included copious amounts of ham.

"But it's kosher ham," the PR person said, without missing a beat.

Goodman, of course, is the fabled "Jewish Jordan," whose prep career burned bright, starting at Baltimore's Talmudical Academy and then at Takoma Academy, before basketball earned him a scholarship offer at Maryland (which was later rescinded he eventually declined), sending him to play briefly for Towson, and then to a pro career in Israel. He played five season in Israel, got married, had two kids, served in the Army, moved down to the second division and planned to finish his career in that country, before he heard that the Maryland NightHawks had recently left the American Basketball Association and formed a new outfit, the 10-team Premier Basketball League, which will start games in 2008. And if any team was going to go out of its way to lure America's most famous orthodox Jewish baller, it was the NightHawks.

"I will never back away from this: you've got to be self-promoting," said Tom Doyle, the owner of the NightHawks and CEO of the PBL, whose commissioner will be TNT's Kenny Smith. "It's survival. Look, you've got to get eyeballs on this league. I just don't believe in doing what everybody else does."

And so today's press extravaganza was hardly limited to Goodman. There was, for example, NightHawks new head coach Lawrence Moten, the Archbishop Carroll and Syracuse legend whose playing days recently ended in Spain, and who now wants to enter the coaching profession. This is his first official coaching job.

"But I'm a natural," said Moten, 33. "It's an easy game. People make it hard."

("I can't believe I got to meet him," Goodman said of his new coach."Pretty cool.")
There was also another new signee, Tyron "The Black Widow" Allan "Alimoe" Evans, a 30-year old who gained fame through the And 1 Mix Tape Tour, and also played organized ball with the Harlem Strong Dogs and the Brooklyn Kings. I was curious about his nicknames.

"I never understood that name," he said of "The Black Widow." "I thought that was somebody's wife. Then they told me that was a spider."

The team's top two picks from the first PBL draft lottery were also introduced: Johan Matos, from Magruder High and Montgomery College, and Kevin Rogus, from Good Counsel and Harvard. Rogus spent the past two years working 100-hour weeks in portfolio analytics on Wall Street before deciding he wanted to give basketball one more shot. I asked what percentage pay cut this involved.

"I don't know, is there a percentage for that?" he joked. "Money will come later. You only live once. If you don't follow your dreams, then why are you living?"

Which sounded like something Goodman might have said. The 25-year old, a 6-foot-3-and-a-half pass-first point guard who can still dunk, never figured he'd be able to play pro ball in America, because he can't play on the Jewish Sabbath. The PBL has ensured that none of his home games will conflict with the Sabbath, and will make appropriate arrangements for road games, which Goodman said was "really, in my eyes, a miracle." He said the blessing of the PBL has brought tears to his grandmother's eyes, that he wanted to offer thanks on behalf of the worldwide Jewish community, that the NightHawks have "broken down all barriers, and I just hope God will bless us for that and for everything you've done."

The rest of the event was filled with basketball people making nice. Goodman told of translating Alimoe's video-taped And1 exploits from English to Hebrew for Israeli kids. Alimoe said he didn't care about the religion thingg; "All I care about is basketball," he said. "Basketball is like a way of life." Goodman's brother David promised Doyle that Tamir was "such a good boy; you're going to be proud." "I'm not just saying that because he's my brother," he addied." The street-ballers and the Jewish hope said that after 10 minutes of gabbing they felt like they've known each other for years--"like we went to public school together," Alimoe said. And NightHawks star Randy "White Chocolate" Gill, outfitted in a Washington Wizards shirt and Washington Wizards jacket, predicted good things from Goodman.

"I love his attitude," White Chocolate said. "He wants to give me the ball already."

As for Goodman, he said he never asked for the "Jewish Jordan" label and never wanted it, but that he's thrilled to be back home and wants to play basketball "as long as I can."

"I love every second," he said. "I feel like I'm the luckiest, most blessed person in the world. I've been able to live my dream."