Jordan Farmar eager to play in Israel

Updated: August 25, 2011, 5:25 PM ET
Associated Press

TEL AVIV, Israel -- Greeted at the airport by fans singing and banging drums, New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar said Thursday he is excited about playing during the NBA lockout with Israeli champion Maccabi Tel Aviv, a club he followed as a youngster.

Aside from Israel's own Omri Casspi, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Farmar is the only Jewish player in the NBA.

He is one of the highest-profile players to play for Maccabi, the runner-up in the Euroleague last season and an organization he said is "committed to winning."

Farmar won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers before joining the Nets in 2010. The 6-foot-2 guard will play for Tel Aviv as long as the lockout continues.

"I'm committed to this team, to the coaching staff and the organization for the time I am here and I want to do my part to help the team grow," Farmar said at a news conference at Maccabi's Nokia Arena. "Leaving at the end is not something I'm looking forward to ... but there is a business aspect to it. Part of my contract says when the NBA restarts I have to go back."

Farmar has been interested in Maccabi since he visited Israel as a youngster and saw the team play. Farmar's parents divorced when he was a child. His mother is Jewish, and his stepfather is Israeli. His father, former baseball player Damon Farmar, is black.

After playing for UCLA, Farmar became the first Jewish player in the NBA since Danny Schayes -- son of Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes -- retired in 1999.

"Jordan is one of the best and most exciting and I believe most special guards who have come to Israel for a long time. We're thrilled to have him," Maccabi coach David Blatt said. "The great part of the story is Jordan wanted to come and we wanted him. It was really a decision of the heart rather than a professional matter."

Farmar expects to adjust easily to the European game and fit in well with a deep Maccabi squad.

"I'm here to be a positive influence," he said. "I'm a leader by nature, whether I'm on the floor or not. I'm not here to show anybody up. I'm just trying to be a member of the team, a positive influence and whatever they ask of me I'll do."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press



  • Dollars And Sense?
    JPP said he's 'worth a lot of money,' before perhaps his final game with Big Blue.
  • Sayonara
    Hiroki Kuroda is leaving the Yankees and MLB to go back and pitch in Japan.
  • Say What?
    Deron Williams returned to action Friday, off the bench, and that may continue.
  • Too Legit To Quit
    Jets WR Percy Harvin (ribs) sounds determined to play in Sunday's season finale.
  • Chumps!
    We rank our top 10 most loathed New York sports figures of 2014.