Miki Berkovich in action. (Moshe Shai/Flash90) (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Miki Berkovich

Legendary basketball player Miki Berkovich is the first Israeli to be honored at FIBA’s Hall of Fame.

FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, announced on Wednesday its star-studded list of world class basketball personalities entered into the FIBA Hall of Fame’s 2017 Class of Inductees, which included Israel’s Miki Berkovich.

The legendary players, from seven different countries across three continents, include the USA’s Dream Team members Shaquille O’Neal and Toni Kukoc,

The Honors Committee of the FIBA Hall of Fame decided to reward the outstanding contributions of the Dream Team to international basketball on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its remarkable appearance at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where it won the gold medal. They will be inducted during a special ceremony at the House of Basketball – the headquarters of basketball’s world governing body on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland

FIBA President Horacio Muratore stated that “the 2017 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame distinguishes itself for the impressive amount of success these personalities have experienced on the court for their respective countries. We congratulate them for all of their glorious moments and look forward to honoring them and welcoming them as the latest class of FIBA Hall of Fame inductees. We are especially pleased to enshrine the Dream Team 25 years after they stepped on the world stage and revolutionized basketball across the globe.”

Speaking to IDF Radio on Thursday, Berkovich, 63, said that “reality has surpassed any dream” and that “shivers were passing through his body.”

Greatest Israeli Basketball Player of All Time

Berkovich, a 6’4″ shooting guard, is considered by many of his fellow Israelis to be the greatest Israeli basketball player of all time.

Berkovich began his long and distinguished career with Maccabi Tel Aviv at the age of 11, when he joined the youth club. At the age of 15, he was playing for the junior squad. In 1971, at 17, he made his debut with the senior team in Israel’s top professional league.

In 1977, Berkovich helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to win its first European Championship, defeating Mobilgirgi Varese 78:77 in the final held in Pionir Hall, Belgrade, and CSKA Moscow 91:79 in semifinal group game held in Virton, Belgium – an achievement that inspired former American-Israeli basketball player Tal Brody’s famous sentence, “We [Israel] are on the map, not only in basketball.”

At his retirement, he was second all-time in appearances (165), and points scored (2,842), among members of the senior men’s Israeli national basketball team.

Berkovich was named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1991 as well as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors by a select panel on February 2008. He was also honored at the EuroLeague Final Four in Madrid.

By: United with Israel Staff