Israel and University of Illinois basketball legend and 1979 Israel Prize winner, Tal Brody, along with fans on both continents, relished a "hoop dreams" moment as his No. 12 college jersey was hoisted to the rafters during half-time at an Illini-Purdue game last month.
"To go back to Champaign-Urbana and go into Assembly Hall, it always gives me goose pimples," Brody told The Chicago Tribune on Feb. 12. "It's a huge honor."
Several days earlier during his visit from Israel, Brody led a Jewish National Fund (JNF) - hosted basketball clinic at the Deerfield's Berto Center.
"Over 100 children (ages 8 to 16) and parents braved the heavy snow and ice to come learn basketball moves … from Brody and 1989 University of Illinois All American and former NBA star Kenny Battle.
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Brody played point guard with Illinois’ in 1963 when they won the Big Ten Championship, later made Aliyah and went on to lead Tel Aviv's Maccabi Electra to its first European Cup Championship in 1977.
"We (Israel) are on the map. And we are staying on the map--not only in sports, but in everything," Brody said after the Euro Cup win.
Brody is also the Chairman of The Spirit of Israel, a non-profit subsidiary company of The Jewish Agency for Israel, which raises funds from the Israeli public and creates awareness for Israel's social agenda.