On Monday, Maccabi Hunter Haifa’s players were hosted for dinner at the IJ & Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center in Salt Lake City, Utah — sponsored by the Jewish Federation and the Israeli American Council. The Greens’ captain Oz Blayzer and forward Willy Workman addressed the crowd and thanked the Jewish community for their wonderful hospitality.
The team spoke about their Haifa Hoops for Kids charity program, and the club’s mission to give back to the community. The players took photos, signed autographs, and mingled with everyone in attendance.
Earlier in the day, center Samardo Samuels arrived in Salt Lake City to join Haifa for the team’s afternoon practice. He immediately showed off his team spirit — sporting dyed Green hair.
We interviewed Josh Smith, the former NBA Slam Dunk champion, to hear about his goals for linking up with the Greens during their NBA tour.
“My goal, pretty much, is to give these other NBA teams, who haven’t seen me in a year, an opportunity, you know, just for them to see that I have a lot left in the tank,” said Smith. “This is a good opportunity to be able to come out here to play against Utah, Indiana Pacers and the Trail Blazers — three NBA teams that will be able to get an opportunity to see, not only Maccabi play, but me as well.”
Although, Smith hasn’t been to Israel yet, he certainly has a good impression of the Holy Land.
“I’ve heard [Israel] is amazing, it’s a place that I definitely have to visit, though. I’ve heard it’s unbelievable from a lot of people.”