BERKOWITZ, MICKEY (1954– ), Israeli basketball player. Born in Kefar Sava, Berkowitz joined the Maccabi Tel Aviv youth club at age 11, played with the junior squad at 15, and joined the senior team at 17 in 1971. He helped the Israeli team beat the U.S. team at the 1973 Maccabiah games, 86–80, and subsequently became the first Israeli to play ncaa Division I basketball, joining the third-ranked University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1975. Though he had a guaranteed contract offer from the Atlanta Hawks and the New Jersey Nets, Maccabi Tel Aviv would not release him from his contract.
Berkowitz, a 6ʹ 3ʹʹ guard, returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv after the 1975–76 season and subsequently became one of the team's stars. Teaming up with Tal *Brody, Berkowitz helped lead the team to the European Championship in 1977 and 1981, scoring 17 points in the 78–77 win over Mobilgirgi of Varese, Italy, on April 7, 1977, and 20 points in the final against Sinudyne, Bologna, on March 26, 1981. Berkowitz played 17 seasons for Maccabi Tel Aviv, also winning 17 Israeli league championships and 13 Israeli State Cups. He also played on the Israeli national team that won a gold medal at the 1974 Tehran Asian Games and a silver medal at the 1979 European championships in Torino, Italy. Berkowitz's highest-scoring game in international competition occurred at the 1975 European championships in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, when he scored 44 points against Turkey. Berkowitz retired in 1996 and remained active on the basketball scene as a general manager and team owner. He was named Israel's Sportsman of the Year in 1975 and chosen Best Sportsman in the history of Israeli sports on the country's 50th anniversary.
[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]