Sunday, January 27, 2008
People are looking down at Tamir Goodman. The fans seated in the court-level seats of Reading, Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Center are confused by the once-heralded “Jewish Jordan’s” appearance. Even a tiny redheaded preschooler has a hard giggle when his dad points out Goodman’s odd attire. However, no one is staring at the yarmulke on his head; rather, they are dumbfounded to see that he is wearing two different shoes.
“It’s not any superstition or cool style,” says the 25-year-old Goodman, now a married father of two and a seasoned professional. “I have a bruise on my foot, and it’s for comfort until it gets better.”
There is very little about Goodman that is “typical.” The former Baltimore prep star earned notice as the first major Orthodox Jewish basketball player on the modern American high school hoops scene. He says the attention around his game began after the 10th grade. After attending the Eastern Invitational Basketball camp, he earned a reputation as a player to watch on the high school camp circuit. At Eastern Invitational, Goodman was asked to play in the All-Star Game, but it was to be held on Saturday, a day when Orthodox Jews observe Sabbath, or “a day of rest or inactivity.” While his religious beliefs kept him out of that game, Goodman wasn’t discouraged and carried on with his hoop dreams.
However, Goodman never played a game at Maryland. While it isn’t crystal clear how the commitment, which seemed like a lock, was broken, speculation has it that Maryland found it impossible to rearrange their schedule to free Goodman of having to play on the Sabbath. Although he didn’t make it to the A.C.C. and never got the chance to be a Terrapin, Goodman says he was never bitter about the outcome.
“I have absolutely nothing against Maryland; I still root for them like crazy, especially Coach Williams,” said Goodman, who plays in a Jewish garment under his jersey known as tzitzit. Essentially, strings hang from a shirt that, when knotted, symbolize the 613 commandments of the Torah. Jewish people wear tzitzis as a reminder to obey the commandments and have been since the time of Moses. “It really had nothing to do with them. It was from above, and the whole situation just made me a better and stronger person and a better player. I could never say anything bad about the University of Maryland, because they do so much good in the community I grew up in.”
You say a kiddush Hashem and I agree. But I remember a few years ago and the rav in our shul made a speech against this kid. He thought it was terrible that anyone looked up to him. I think the rav was wrong on this, way too frum.Post a Comment