Since the Portland Trail Blazers made their debut in 1970, the rosters from their 50-plus seasons have featured over 50 players of various nationalities, including Mychal Thompson (Bahamas), Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuania), and Detlef Schrempf (Germany) among others.
On October 6th, the Blazers will host Maccabi Ra’anana in a preseason game at the Moda Center, their third of the 2022 season.
Who is Maccabi Ra’anana, you’re probably asking yourself? Maccabi Ra’anana is a professional basketball team in Ra’anana, Israel with a population of 75,421, part of the second-tier division of the Israeli National League.
Most of the players on their roster are in fact from Israel itself. However, there are a couple from the United States who play for them — guys who went undrafted in the NBA and took their talent to play professionally in another country. Their Head Coach is Ofer Berkovich.
This is not the first time Portland has played host to a team from Israel. They welcomed Maccabi Haifa in 2015, defeating them 121-74, and again in 2019, 104-68. Before the game in 2019 according to Erik Gunderson formerly of The Columbian, Portland’s DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) asked the Blazers to protest Israeli sports, with protestors showing up at The Rose Quarter.
Perhaps the Blazers will see a player on this team it likes. Maybe if they liked a player a lot they’ll send new international scout Swenge Lomani to further scout that player with the possibility to work out in Portland and the hopes of making the roster at some point.
This likely won’t be the last time the Blazers host a team like this. We can hope Portland’s time will come when they will play a game in another country similar to what the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons will do on January 19 in Paris. It would be fun to see Sabonis’ NBA team he played for taking on Zalgiris, the professional team in Lithuania he is part owner of.