Tag Archives: Yom Kippur

Jew of the Week: Abe Saperstein

Abraham Michael Saperstein (1902-1966) was born in London and grew up in Chicago, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants. From a young age, Saperstein was fascinated with sport, and played on his high school’s baseball, basketball, football, and boxing teams. Forced to drop out of university to support his struggling family, Saperstein never lost his dream of an athletic career, despite being just 5’3″ tall, and being a Jew in a time of rampant anti-Semitism. While working as a playground supervisor, Saperstein was given an opportunity to play for a semi-pro basketball team. He did well, and soon became the team’s coach, manager, and booking agent. In 1926, Saperstein founded his own basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters.”Harlem” was not for its geographical location – it was based in Chicago – but because it was an all-black team. At the time, most sports leagues were for whites only, with separate leagues for black people. Basketball in particular was considered a “white sport”, with black players banned from the NBA. Saperstein and his original five players made just $8 (split evenly between them) in their first game. Throughout the difficult years of the Great Depression, Saperstein was the team’s coach, manager, driver, publicist, and even substitute player! The team was once described as “Four clean-limbed young colored men and a squat bandy-legged chap of Jewish extraction”. To make ends meet, the team had to play just about every night. Since most hotels did not allow black guests, Saperstein often snuck his players into his own room. The team quickly built a reputation for “ball-handling wizardry” and showmanship. In 1948, the Globetrotters played against the all-white NBA champions, the Minneapolis Lakers. To everyone’s shock, the Globetrotters won. A year later, they won a rematch. This proved once and for all that black players were just as good (if not better) than white players. The following year, the first black player (a former Globetrotter) was signed to an NBA team, finally breaking basketball’s colour barrier. That same year, the Globetrotters played in Madison Square Garden, the first time a basketball game sold out at MSG. Saperstein then established two more basketball teams in the US, as well as an international one. He also founded and owned several baseball teams. His ultimate wish was to own an NBA team, but he was thwarted time and again. Instead, he started his own competing league, the American Basketball League (ABL). To make it more exciting, Saperstein added a new line to the court and invented the three-point shot. The ABL did not last long, but the NBA soon adopted the three-point shot into its own league, forever changing the game. Saperstein was both a visionary and a tireless labourer. He took just one day off a year – Yom Kippur – and died of a heart attack while at work. Saperstein has been credited with revolutionizing basketball, making sports more entertaining, and most importantly, playing a key role in ending athletic racial segregation. One former player said the Globetrotters had “done more for the perception of black people, and the perception of America, than almost anything you could think of.” The Globetrotters still put on 450 shows a year, and have played over 26,000 exhibition games, in over 120 countries, making them one of the most popular and well-known basketball teams of all time.

Words of the Week

He that waits upon Fortune, is never sure of a dinner.
– Benjamin Franklin

The 1950 Harlem Globetrotters team, with Saperstein at right

Jew of the Week: Bill Goldberg

World Champion of Wrestling

Bill Goldberg

Bill Goldberg

William Scott Goldberg (b. 1966 ) was born in Oklahoma to a Jewish family of Romanian and Russian heritage. He grew up going to Tulsa’s Temple Israel, where he had his bar mitzvah, and playing football from a young age. Goldberg studied at the University of Georgia on a football scholarship, and was drafted into the NFL by the Los Angeles Rams in 1990. He played for several teams over the next five years, but his career was cut short with a serious abdominal injury. While doing rehab for this injury, Goldberg started mixed martial arts training. He was soon spotted by some wrestlers who suggested he take up the sport, so he began training at the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) school, called the Power Plant. Goldberg had his first match in the summer of 1997, and went undefeated for nearly 80 matches before winning the US Heavyweight Championship. By the summer of 1998, he defeated Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg continued to mesmerize audiences around the globe, and became the world’s highest-paid wrestler, making $2.5 million a year. In 2001, while he was recovering from another injury, the WCW was bought out by WWF, and the new company did not take on his contract. Goldberg went on to wrestle in Japan, then came back to the US and joined the WWE. He had his last match in 2004 at WrestleMania XX, which he won. In 2006, Goldberg began working as a commentator for various mixed martial arts events. Meanwhile, he has starred in eleven films, and made appearances on 26 television shows. Goldberg is also a big advocate for animal rights and welfare, and has even addressed Congress on behalf of this cause. Goldberg has always been proud of his Jewish heritage, and refused to wrestle on Yom Kippur. Today, he runs a mixed-martial arts gym in California, and visits sick children in the hospital in his spare time.

Major World Issues That No One Is Talking About

IDF Creates New Commando Unit in Response to Threats

The Ocean’s Glory, and Horror

Scottish Anti-Israel Activist Jailed for Acid Attack

How to Make Use of Those Little Silica Bags You Always Throw Out

The Truth About the Egg Industry

Winston Churchill’s Thoughts on Islam

Words of the Week

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
– Aldous Huxley