Omri Casspi becomes first Israeli player to receive NBA championship ring
He returned to the Golden State Warriors arena to accept the honor.
Omri Casspi received a hero's welcome on Monday night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. The 6'9" athlete became the first Israeli player in the NBA to receive a championship ring.
Omri Casspi receives his championship ring pregame. pic.twitter.com/OC4KkHxL9g— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) November 6, 2018
Casspi helped the Golden State Warriors on their long road to victory last season. He now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, who were in town for a game. Steve Kerr, the Warriors head coach, said he misses Casspi. "I enjoyed coaching Omri. He really fit our system, our style well," he told reporters earlier this week.
Casspi was cut in April just before the playoffs to make room for backup guard Quinn Cook who was playing for the injured superstar Stephen Curry. "It just didn't work out," Kerr went on to say about Casspi. "I felt horrible for him at the end of the season when we had the Steph injury and we had no choice. We didn't have a roster spot. We had to have Quinn because he had played so well and Steph was still injured going into the playoffs. Just one of those weird NBA things where he got kinda left out."
As the Mercury News summed up: "Despite Casspi’s limited role, the Warriors still wanted to honor him with a championship ring for his efforts during the regular season. The logic also falls into the Warriors’ 'Strength in Numbers' philosophy, pinning success on role players and behind-the-scenes personnel as just as important as their All-Star laden talent."
In addition to his power forward prowess, Casspi is prevalent off the court as well. He has invested in an Israeli startup called DayTwo, which analyzes the poop of basketball players to better tailor a diet for them. He also traveled back to Israel last summer for a four-day Basketball Without Borders camp that brought fellow NBA players and coaches to the Mediterranean to work with young players in this basketball-obsessed country.
While the 30-year-old Casspi is the first Israeli player to receive such an honor, he's not the first from his country to actually get the ring. David Blatt, who coached the Cleveland Cavaliers for a portion of their 2016 championship season, also has one.
Afterwards, Casspi posted a photo of the ring on his Instagram account with a simple caption: "Thank you."
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: Sports