Sunday, May 20, 2007

Israeli Hoops Ambassador to the WNBA

A 5 foot 9 inch teenager from a Tel Aviv suburb is armed witih a dream, to play professional basketball in the United States. Her parents are supportive, as many parents are around the world, only these parents, athletes themselves, have a good idea of what it takes to make it as a professional athlete and know that to beat the odds it will help if their daughter goes to college in the US. So, to increase the odds of getting a scholarship, the family picks up and moves to Long Island and Shay Doron enrolls at a Catholic high school which has produced Chamique Hosclaw and Sue Bird, becoming the only Jewish student at her school.

Flash forward two years and Doron enrolls at Maryland, a program rebuilding. Before she leaves, Doron leads the Terps to the national championship. Last month, at the WNBA draft, she waits, watches as the first round goes by and her name is not called. The second round comes and as the New York Liberty's, her "hometown" team, turn rolls around, the team's Vice President of Player Personnel is staring at her as she makes picks Doron. Shay's childhood dream comes true; she is the only Israeli in the WNBA.

Doron is not just any 5'9" guard, however. “She has the skills and mentality to play in this league, absolutely,” Liberty Coach Pat Coyle said. “Every day she competes. This is her life. This is her dream. She won’t be satisfied until she’s starting and is an impact player. I can’t ever see that kid not working.”

However, what really separates Doron is that she sees herself as an ambassador for Israel. She is not serving in the Israeli Defense Force since she has been living outside the country but sees herself as serving the country as a roving ambassador. She encourages everyone she meets to visit Israel and perhaps even move there. She anticipates using the "fame" associated with being a WNBA player as a platform to educate more people about the situation Israel finds itself in every day and the lives Israelis are living, as well as the good things that are going on inside the country. Playing in the world's media capital can only help, as this New York Times article proves.

1 comment:

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