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The (unplanned) theme of this week’s Jewish Sport Report is new beginnings. We’ve got a new Jewish player in the WNBA, a Jewish NHL debut, a soon-to-be new Jew in the NBA, a new Jewish NFL owner and more.
In honor of all the new-ness, we want to hear from you: have you seen a Jewish athlete’s professional debut? Tell us that story. If you haven’t, which Jewish athlete, past or present, do you wish you saw in their first game? Email us at email@example.com to let us know.
NBA star Domantas Sabonis is converting to Judaism
All-Star Domantas Sabonis is preparing for the NBA Playoffs, where his Sacramento Kings take on their rivals, the Golden State Warriors, in the first round this weekend.
Sabonis is also preparing for another life milestone: he’s converting to Judaism.
“We really haven’t talked about it [publicly],” said Sabonis’ wife Shashana, who is Jewish. “He loves [Judaism] and really wants to be a part of it.”
The 7-foot-1 center regularly studies on Zoom with a Los Angeles rabbi and reportedly keeps kosher. The son of a Lithuanian Hall of Famer attended Chabad of Sacramento’s Purim party this year and sponsored a sufganiyot giveaway at a Kings home game during Hanukkah.
Read more about the soon-to-be Jewish star right here.
SPREAD YOUR WINGS. After a stellar college career at Princeton and Maryland, Jewish basketball star Abby Meyers is going pro. Meyers was selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft this week by the Dallas Wings.
CHANGE OF COMMAND. Embattled Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder has reportedly agreed to sell his NFL franchise to a group led by fellow Jewish billionaire Josh Harris, who already owns several other sports teams. The $6 billion deal is a record.
(PLAY)BOOK OF MORMON. College quarterback Jake Retzlaff is chasing history: he is trying to become the first Jewish starting QB ever for the Mormon Brigham Young University.
TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN. In November 2021, Oliver Ferber faced a decision familiar to some Jewish athletes: compete on Saturday, or keep Shabbat? Ferber’s Jewish day school would be racing in the Maryland state championship on a Saturday morning, and despite pressure from his teammates, coach and family, Ferber decided not to race. Read his story here on ESPN.
NOT GOOD. There were two unsettling incidents with Israeli athletes in Greece this week. First, an Israeli soccer player who played for a Greek team was arrested for alleged sexual acts with a minor and was found in possession of heroin. In an unrelated event, local fans burned an Israeli flag at a basketball game between Hapoel Jerusalem and AEK Athens.
“King Solomon” takes on the English Premier League
Israeli soccer star Manor Solomon is a rare Jewish player in the world’s top tier of soccer. But he isn’t just riding the bench — he’s making a big impact.
The 23-year-old midfielder has shined for Fulham F.C. this season, at one point scoring in five straight games and garnering interest from one the Premier League’s best teams.
Solomon’s journey to reach this point was not easy: he had been playing in Ukraine since 2019 when war broke out last year.
Read more about the rising Israeli star right here.
Jews in sports to watch this weekend
Soon-to-be Jewish player Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings face the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Game 1 is tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Manor Solomon and Fulham F.C. host Everton tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET, streaming on Peacock.
Alex Bregman, who has two home runs this week after a slow start to the season, leads the Houston Astros in a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. Joc Pederson and the San Francisco Giants head to Detroit for a trio of games against the Tigers.
Devon Levi and the Buffalo Sabres take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on the final day of the regular season. The Stanley Cup Playoffsbegin Monday — Adam Fox, Zach Hyman and Jack and Luke Hughes will all be in action.
After a disappointing finish at The Masters last week, Max Homa is at the RBC Heritage tournament this weekend in South Carolina.
Luke Hughes, the youngest brother of Jack and Quinn, made his NHL debut this week, playing with Jack on the New Jersey Devils. Plus, Yaniv Perets, fresh off a national championship with Quinnipiac University, has signed an entry-level deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. The young Jewish talent in the NHL right now is, simply put, awesome.
Tonight’s matchup between the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres could feature three Jewish players, all 21 or younger:
Luke Hughes, who is making his NHL debut
Jack Hughes, 2-time All-Star
Devon Levi, DI’s top goalie two seasons in a row
— The Jewish Sport Report (@JTASportReport) April 11, 2023
The post The Jewish Sport Report: This NBA All-Star is converting to Judaism appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.