The Israel Basketball League, Winner League MVP John DiBartolomeo spoke exclusively to the Sports Rabbi about his recent signing with Maccabi Tel Aviv BC that made waves throughout the Holy Land Hoops world. DiBartolomeo was a key component for the Maccabi Haifa team that made it all the way to the League Finals from the 8th and last playoff place and was a free agent once the season came to and end after a loss to Hapoel Jerusalem in the finals.
DiBartolomeo discussed his decision to sign with the Yellow & Blue, his thoughts on leaving Haifa, goals for the coming campaign and of course a message on how hard work pays off:
The decision to sign with Maccabi Tel Aviv after a couple of seasons with Haifa:
“I felt like it was a great opportunity. Haifa finished the season very strong and made history. Although we came up just short of our goal, the team and I were receiving a lot of attention. I feel like our team’s success brought me this chance and it’s not everyday you get the opportunity to play in one of the top leagues in the world, so I felt it was something I couldn’t pass up.”
Leaving a warm and comfortable home in Maccabi Haifa:
“It was a difficult decision to leave Haifa. I loved it there. Not only the city, but the people and especially the club. I felt close to everyone that works in the organization: management, coaches, trainers and of course the players. Coming to a new team in a new country isn’t always an easy transition. I feel very fortunate to have gone to Haifa in my first year. They took me in, were patient with me, made me feel comfortable and helped me develop. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Goals for next season:
“My goals next season is to do whatever I can to help the team be successful. I understand there will be some things that I’m not used to so I want to be able to adjust and adapt as fast as possible.”
The responsibility of playing with Maccabi and helping the team get back to the upper echelons of Israeli and European basketball:
“I think I have to stick to what I know. Do what’s asked of me and do it to the best of my ability. I know there will be challenges but that’s why we play and what makes it fun.”
Joining a team with a long and storied history:
“It’s not everyday you get this type of opportunity and I feel fortunate that I’m getting this experience. There are some things I’m not used to. For example, all the attention and coverage that comes with playing for a Euroleague team.
Message to the fans:
“My message to fans anywhere would be from two quotes I constantly hear. My mother always told me that if ‘you’re kind and work hard, amazing things will happen to you.’ And my grandfather (coincidentally her father) always told me that ‘I found the harder I worked the luckier I got.’ These are two of the most important qualities I like to see in people.”