Basketball Player Tamir Goodman,
Called “The Jewish Michael Jordan,”
Inspires Students and Faculty
Tamir Goodman, called “The Jewish Michael Jordan” by Sports Illustrated magazine, visited Schechter this week to share his inspiring story with Sager Middle School students and faculty. The talented athlete blazed a career in basketball that evolved from practicing on Maryland playgrounds to being ranked one of the top 25 high school basketball players in America. Along the way, he was named MVP of the prestigious Capitol Classic all-star game and played professionally on several Israeli basketball teams.
Throughout his rise in basketball, Goodman stayed true to his Jewish values. Raised in an Orthodox family, he played Division 1 basketball on an athletic scholarship without ever playing on Shabbat. He became the first observant Jew in recent history to reach the highest levels of his sport while not losing touch with his religious conviction. Goodman was destined for a successful professional career before numerous injuries causes him to rethink his life.
He is now combining his basketball skills and Jewish pride in an innovative basketball camp for children in grades 3-8 (see community news for more information). According to Schechter parent Diane Halivni, who is coordinating the camp in Chicago, the Coolanu Israel Basketball Camps combine physical skills with positive messaging and Judaism. “Each time Tamir directs young people on the best way to pass the ball, position their feet, shoot a basket, Goodman talks about the mental and physical preparation that it takes to be the best person you can be from athlete to student to friend to leader. For Goodman, basketball – in all its drills, moves, positions, and strategy – is a metaphor for life,” said Halivni.
“Tamir is an incredible role model for both children and adults alike,” said Holly Rosenberg, Principal of the Sager Middle School. “He demonstrates the importance of humility and standing up for what you believe in.”
“It was good for our students to hear first-hand from someone who took control of his own destiny,” added Daniel Weinberg, Assistant Principal. “Tamir never compromised his Jewish values; he found a way to be the best basketball player and the best person that he could be. He shared with us how in the face of adversity he always found a way to succeed while maintaining his integrity.”