Brody, Tal

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BRODY, TAL (1943– ), basketball player, Israeli sports hero. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Brody played at the University of Illinois, where he was named All-American in 1965 and was the No. 13 pick in the nba draft, selected by the Baltimore Bullets. Brody led the U.S. team to a gold medal at the 1965 Maccabiah Games before joining the Maccabi-Tel Aviv team a year later. He was named Israel's Sportsman of the Year in 1967 after leading Maccabi-Tel Aviv to a second-place finish in the European Cupholders Cup. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968, Brody served primarily on the All-Army and All-Armed Forces basketball teams, with the latter finishing third in the World Championships in Belgrade. He helped Israel win its first Maccabiah Games basketball gold medal in 1969 and became a citizen of Israel in 1970. Brody then led Maccabi-Tel Aviv to a European Champions Cup in 1977, a historic moment in Israeli sports history, with political undertones. The key game on the road to the championship was against cska Moscow – the Red Army team – four-time winners of the European Cup. The Soviet Union had no diplomatic relations with Israel and the team refused to play in Tel Aviv or allow the Israelis to come to Moscow. The game was played at a neutral site in Virton, Belgium, where Brody's Maccabi team triumphed 91–79. The championship contest against Italy's Mobil Girgi was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and the El Al plane that brought the team was the first Israeli plane permitted to land in the country. Maccabi-Tel Aviv defeated Italy 78–77 to capture the European title. Brody's exultant postgame interview, in heavily accented and less than perfect Hebrew, gave Israel one of its most famous quotes: "We're on the map and we're staying on the map, not just in sports but in everything!" Brody went on to help Maccabi-Tel Aviv win 10 Israeli championships and six Israeli State Cups, and in 1979 received the Israel Prize for his contribution to sports.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]