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Monday, July 15, 2019

Tamir Goodman burst onto sports fans’ radar in the mid-’90s when he was ranked as the 25th-best high school basketball player in the country. Sports Illustrated christened him the “Jewish Jordan” and he appeared on 60 Minutes, Fox Sports and ESPN. Upon graduating from high school he received a scholarship to play for one of the nation’s top college programs at the University of Maryland. As an Orthodox Jew, however, Goodman would not sign on if it meant playing on Shabbos (Friday night or Saturday), and so he did accepted a scholarship to play for a smaller program at Towson University where the coach agreed to tailor the schedule around Shabbos. Tamir had a terrific freshman year, but his sophomore season came with a new coach and other obstacles. Goodman did not make it through the season.

Goodman moved to Israel and continued playing professionally for various teams. In 2004, while serving in the Israeli Defense Force (a requirement for all Israeli citizens), he suffered a serious knee injury, ending Goodman’s competitive playing career.

Goodman is now a basketball coach and entrepreneur: The creator and CEO of Sport String Tzizit and the creator of the ZONE190, a revolutionary basketball skills training device. (More information on both products is available at Tamirgoodman.com.)

Goodman is also a partner in the Omri Casspi Basketball Camps, with ten-plus years’ experience conducting basketball clinics/camps. Last week the Casspi/ Goodman experience came to Bergen County for the first time ever. In addition to Goodman and Omri Casspi (NBA forward and only Israeli to play in the NBA), the camp featured New Jersey native Zack Rosen, the holder of almost all offensive category honors at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently playing in Israel.

All of the campers were drilled in basic skills, but the sense of pride in being a frum Jewish athlete is priceless. Goodman told the JLBC that the most rewarding part of running these programs “is seeing the individual growth.”  No matter how talented the child is (and there were some really good ball players there) few if any will play at the level that Goodman and Rosen have. The sportsmanship, teamwork and Jewish pride will make them all successes wherever their individual lives take them.

If you missed out on the Goodman experience, he will be coming back to our area during Yeshiva Break week. Stay tuned to the Jewish Link of Bergen County for all the details as soon as they are available.