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Gershon, Pinchas

GERSHON, PINCHAS

GERSHON, PINCHAS (Pini ; 1951– ), Israeli basketball coach who led the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team to three European championships. Gershon's career as a player ended early, and he then began to coach. In 1993, he guided Galil Elyon to a national championship, the only time in 40 years a team other than Maccabi Tel Aviv had won it. In 1996 he coached Hapoel Jerusalem and took the National Cup. In 1998 he took over Maccabi Tel Aviv, which had had little success in Europe in the preceding years, and led it to the European Final Four. In 2001 Maccabi won the championship, defeating Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos. After taking a break from coaching, and with Tel Aviv slated to host the Final Four, he returned for the 2003/4 season to take Maccabi to a second European championship. In 2004/5 Maccabi took the championship again, becoming the first team since 1991 with back-to-back titles. Gershon was also named Euroleague Coach of the Year, and as a warm-up for the 2005/6 season took the team to the United States, where it split two games against nba opponents, beating the Toronto Raptors at the buzzer.

Flamboyant and outspoken, Gershon changed the face of European basketball with his offense-minded play and baffling match-up zone. Under his tutelage, Maccabi continued to be the country's leading sports attraction, playing before sellout crowds in Tel Aviv and attracting the cream of local and foreign players.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

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