They Called Him 'The Jewish Jordan'... What Ever Happened to Him?
In one of the more interesting basketball stories in the Maryland area over the last 20 years, a player known as the Jewish Jordan took over the national headlines after rising to one of the best high school players in the country while being raised an Orthodox Jewish household. Including averaging over 35 points per game and being named MVP of a high school All-Star game, Tamir Goodman began to receive offers from some of the top Division 1 Basketball programs in the country. In what turned out to be a decision between his faith and his basketball career, "the Jewish Jordan" had to make a choice on whether he was willing to play during his holy day - occurring between Friday evening to Saturday night. In this video, I go through the full story of the Jewish Jordan and what is he up to these days. Definitely a must watch!
"He was only a 17-year-old high school junior when Sports Illustrated dubbed him the “Jewish Jordan” in a four-page story in 1999.
Considering Tamir Goodman still had a year of high school left at Talmudical Academy in Baltimore, it was perhaps just a bit premature to make comparisons to basketball icon Michael Jordan.
“I never really liked the nickname,” Goodman said. “But I did know it wasn’t about me. It was about something greater.”
Indeed, that special something lives on in Goodman’s work. While Jerusalem is now his home, he spent the past week sharing a message of inspiration as he hopscotched the Great Lakes and Northeast.
The final stop of his trip came Sunday when he visited the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester to conduct a basketball clinic in the afternoon and deliver a talk at night.
About 50 kids, ages 5 through early teens, took part in the clinic, with Goodman teaching a variety of drills and skills.
“I thought it was a really good experience,” said Sam Zarkowsky, 14, of Rochester. “Everyone from second grade to ninth grade was doing the same activities.”
Most of the kids hadn’t been born when Goodman was playing NCAA Division I basketball at Towson University in Baltimore, and they never really knew of his pro career in Israel, a career brought to a premature end by injuries in 2009."
Catching up with Tamir Goodman aka The Jewish Jordan
"It's been over a decade since a Sports Illustrated article turned him into an overnight celebrity and yet there's still always someone that recognizes him in public at shopping malls, airports and the like. "Are you the Jewish Jordan?" they ask . Yes, Tamir Goodman tells them, that's me. After all, Goodman's still pretty easy to spot after all these years with his boyish face, fair skin and fiery red hair under a yarmulke.
"Whatever happened to you?" That's a much longer reply. The short answer is that Goodman is now living with his wife and three children in a Cleveland suburb, where he coaches basketball at a private Jewish school that goes up to eighth grade, runs camps and clinics, and serves as a motivational speaker. The long answer -- well, how much time do you have? When the SI piece was published in February of 1999, his story was like something out of a movie. Goodman was a junior at the tiny Talmudical Academy in Pikesville, Md., just north of Baltimore. That season, he averaged 38 points and committed to play at the nearby University of Maryland, one of the premier programs in the country. His fellow students had already started calling him Jesus (after Jesus Shuttlesworth in the movie "He Got Game") and, you guessed it, Jewish Jordan. It was an unusual sight: An Orthodox Jew who dominated while wearing a yarmulke and could be seen balling at the Dome, a legendary streetball court in East Baltimore. ESPN and "60 Minutes" came calling and soon everyone wanted a piece of Goodman. At one point, things got so crazy he says he received 700 media requests in one week alone. "I had no idea what was going on," Goodman said. "I still probably don't. It changed my life. It definitely changed my life. But ultimately I just always wanted to help other people through my story.""
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