Omri Casspi, first Israeli NBA player, retires

Former Kings forward Omri Casspi
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Then-NBA commissioner David Stern – according to Omri Casspi – smiled wider than usual when announcing the Kings drafting Casspi No. 23 in 2009. “Because he’s Jewish,” Casspi said.

The first Israeli player in the NBA, Casspi was a big deal to some people.

Now, after a decade in the NBA and two more years back with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Casspi has retired.

James Ham of NBC Sports California:

A hustle player and solid shooter, Casspi entered the NBA fairly ready to contribute. But he never advanced past that solid-backup/spot-starter role with the Kings, Cavaliers, Rockets, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Warriors and Grizzlies. He averaged eight points in 20 minutes per game.

Casspi never played in the playoffs. Even when he took a discount to sign with the super-charged Warriors, they waived him shortly before the 2018 postseason – which they capped with a title.

Frequently speaking his mind, Casspi sometimes butted heads with coaches and teammates. Put more charitably: He was passionate.

Casspi didn’t set the NBA on fire the way some fans hoped. But he had a solid career.