Playing with a Celtic – Geoff Gray’s Holy Land Hoopster Diary: Lockdown Week #3

Oct 11, 2020 | Holyland Hoops

Onto lockdown week #3. The good news is the number of Coronavirus cases here has been declining as of late and I’ve heard that could mean a potential loosening of restrictions in the near future. However, we all know how tentative these circumstances can be so we just have to stay in shape as well as we can and hope that we can return to regular activities soon. Since I don’t have many new experiences to talk about lately, I’ll recall one of my favorite stories from Eilat last year.

About midway through the season last year, we signed a 32-year-old American named Gilbert Brown. I’m not sure how many of you follow college basketball closely, but Gil played for that University of Pittsburgh team that was consistently ranked in the top 5 a few years in a row during the late-2000s. After meeting Gil, I had found out that he had a brief stint with the Boston Celtics after he graduated from Pitt in 2011. I’m talking The Big 3 + Rondo & Perk era Celtics. Anyone from Boston knows how special that team was. Not only was I watching Pitt play all through middle school, but that Celtics team is what I grew up on.

Since my hometown of Newton, Massachusetts is only about 20 minutes from downtown Boston where the Celtics play, I was curious as to where Gil lived during his time there. He then proceeded to tell me that he stayed at The Double Tree Hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts. I knew for some reason that sounded familiar, and I later recalled that it was the same hotel that I had my Bar Mitzvah party at in the seventh grade… So in May of 2010, I’m celebrating my Jewish adulthood at the same place that Gil was living a year later as a rookie in the NBA, and eight years later we’re teammates in Israel. “Basketball makes the world small,” he said. He’s definitely not wrong. It doesn’t matter what division, state, class, ranking, country, etc. that you’re coming from. If you can play, they will find you.

Congrats to Gil who just started his coaching career at South Kent, a prep school in Connecticut, after a decade-long playing career. Having vets like him who look out for the younger guys is one of the things that has made this an incredible experience so far. Hopefully by next time I’ll have some new experiences to share from this year. If not, there is more to tell from Eilat… See you guys soon,


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