***CORRECTION: This news brief originally incorrectly stated that the delegation of NBA players visiting Israel came with "a foundation [Omri] Casspi has formed, which seeks to fight anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement initiatives." In fact, the trip had no connection to fighting the BDS movement, Casspi told the Sacramento Bee.
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) National Basketball Association (NBA) player Omri Casspi recently visited Israel, but it was be no ordinary homecoming for the Sacramento Kings forward, as he was be joined by seven other NBA players in a tour organized by his foundation.
Visiting with Casspi were his Sacramento Kings teammates DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Caron Butler, as well as Chandler Parsons of the Dallas Mavericks, Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tyreke Evans of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Alan Anderson of the Washington Wizards.
"You sit around a locker room, and you talk about your home. I always tell my teammates, 'Come see my side of the world. I go to your house when we go to Washington. Come meet my parents, my brother, my sister.' It's literally as simple as that," Casspi told the Sacramento Bee regarding the purpose of the visiting NBA delegation.
NBA Player Relations Director Roger Mason, who played with Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem franchise during the 2005-06 season, joined the players, as did Nick U’Ren, special assistant to the Golden State Warriors’ head coach. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has given the initiative his personal blessing.
During their visit, the American players were guests of honor at two major events hosted by Israeli basketball franchises, toured Israel, and attended several charity events organized by NBA Cares, the league’s global community outreach initiative.