Amar’e Stoudemire, the former NBA star whose two-year deal with the Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem was announced last week, said he could have stayed in the NBA, but elected to play in the Jewish state instead.
“I turned down a lot of money in the NBA to play for Israel, so it’s not about the money at all, it’s about winning championships,” Stoudemire said in an interview published on the Walla website and cited by the Times of Israel.
Stoudemire arrived in Israel on Friday and headed immediately for Dimona, the southern city home to a large community of African Hebrew Israelites, African-American immigrants to Israel who believe they are descendants of the biblical tribe of Judah. The former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks star has long touted a connection to Judaism and his “Hebrew roots.” He has traveled to Israel several times, including a 2013 trip as the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball squad competing in the Maccabiah Games.
Ryan Braun had one of the biggest games of his career driving in seven runs in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 15-6 win over the host Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. He drove in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly and added a pair of three-run homers. He also singled and stole his 13th base. It was the second time he had seven RBI in one game, which ties him for second among JML with Shawn Green and Sid Gordon, who also did it twice; Al Rosen accomplished the feat once. Mike Epstein drove in eight as a member of the Washington Senators in a 12-10 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in 1970. But the unlikely champ is Phil Weintraub, a first baseman for the NY Giants. Out of 77 RBI in his 1944 season, 11 came on April 30 in a 26-8 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Olympic Update: Aly Raisman earned a spot in the individual all-around competition at the Olympics in Rio. She took the second spot for the American women ahead of all-around defending gold medalist Gabby Douglas and behind three-time world all-around champion Simone Biles. The American women’s gymnastics team came in first place in the qualifying for the team finals with a score of 185.238 points, ahead of second place China with a score of 175.279 and third place Russia with 174.620. The finals took place after this edition went to press.
Sagi Muki of Israel failed to medal in the judo under-73 kg weight class after advancing to the semifinals at the Rio Olympics. Muki lost to Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia in the bronze medal match on Monday after losing earlier in the day to Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov in the semifinals. The Israeli finished in fifth place.
Sources: JTA, MLB.com