MIZRACHI, SHIMON (1940– ), chairman of the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team. Mizrachi was born in Tel Aviv. In 1969 he joined the management of Maccabi Tel Aviv, when the team faced economic crisis. He initiated an economic plan to save the team, and began for the first time to sell tickets to the team's games. Mizrachi was also the first to understand that without foreign players the team would not succeed. His vision was fulfilled when Maccabi Tel Aviv won its first European championship in 1977 with a team that included former Illinois All-American Tal *Brody and a 6ʹ 10ʹʹ black center named Aulcie Perry. Maccabi went on to win European championships another four times, in 1981, 2001, 2004, and 2005, becoming a European powerhouse. Under Mizrachi's leadership, Maccabi Tel Aviv was seen to represent the country as a whole in international sports, though it was in fact only a local sports club with its own rivals on the Israeli sports scene. For Mizrachi, the team was his life, with his own family events being fitted in around the team's schedule. Perhaps his greatest triumph was to convince European Basketball Association officials not to pull the Final Four out of Tel Aviv in 2004 despite the security situation. In 2004 he was chosen as one of the torch bearers on Independence Day.
[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]