Maccabi Tel Aviv Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos made a statement about Bryant’s passing at the post game press conference, “We are all in shock,all the basketball people due to the bad news about Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately,life is very priceless and we are thankful for each one of us of the people in the world. It was very difficult during the game at halftime on the bench. We have a lot of players who played with him and against him, but these really tough moments it was good we continued to play and did not lose our concentration, each one of us will pray for Kobe Bryant. To end I will quote Kobe Bryant, “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.”
Amare Stoudemire on Kobe Bryant:
“Kobe was a role model to so many he was a big enough light from a basketball player just from a humanity standpoint; the father that he was to his children the husband he was to his wife the excellence he showed on the court, the intelligence he showedas a human being. Those areas you don’t find very often, I’m sure his father and mother are also grieving, my family is calling me on the phone and crying like you wouldn’t believe. A very touchy topic difficult moment.”
Stoudemire also reflected upon the game being his first for Maccabi Tel Aviv, “I didn’t think I was going be able to play the game tonight.I felt like I was still on the airplane, floating on the court and to hear the news, it took me, it was like I wasn’t here. I know how important the game was and I tried to stay focused, but it wasn’t easy.”
Omri Casspi commented about his passing as well, “This is a tragedy. I have no words to describe how I feel right now. Kobe was one of the greatest sportsmen of all time and was the perfect example of what is great about sports with the hard work he put in and his desire that showed no boundaries. There was no bigger winner and I am thinking about his wife and family at this time.”
“I want to send my condolences and prayers out to the Bryant family. I know his wife and daughters are going through a rough time. RIP Kobe and Gigi. The basketball world is sick right now my heart goes out to their family.”
What was special about Kobe?
“Just how he approached the game of basketball. This game of basketball has done a lot for a lot of people and he approached it with a respect that was unmatched and everyone can say they took something from Kobe.”
Challenge of playing the second half of the game:
“It was very tough. Any news like that is tough but this news especially seeing we were playing basketball and again prayers to his family.”
“Everyone knows what he left to the game, his legacy will never be matched there will never be another Kobe Bryant. Tough to put in words right now.”
Maccabi Captain John Dibartolomeo:
“Can’t really put it into words. Grew up watching him he’s and idol he’s a legend more then words can describe I think everyone is shocked right now.”
Maccabi bests Hapoel in Tel Aviv Derby 84-74
Maccabi Tel Aviv dominated Hapoel Tel Aviv 84-74 in the city Derby that was never close. In a game that was overshadowed by the tragic death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, NBA Draft prospect Deni Avdija got the yellow-and-blue rolling with the club’s first seven points to send them on their way to the win.
Quincy Acy, Elijah Bryant and Othello Hunter all finished the clash with 12 points a piece while Avdija, Scottie Wilbekin and Tyler Dorsey each scored 11 points in the victory. Latavious Williams led Hapoel with 23 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
Deni Avdija lit Yad Eliyahu up with a pair of layups and a triple to get Maccabi Tel Aviv off and rolling as the yellow-and-blue took an early 15-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Othello Hunter scored inside and hit a jumper from the outside as Jordan Hamilton, Latavious Williams and Tomer Ginat found the bottom of the basket to keep the game close as the hosts led 20-15 after ten minutes.
Elijah Bryant got into the act for Maccabi in the second quarter while Ginat and Mark Lyons scored for Hapoel as Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad stayed in front 30-24 with 6:05 remaining in the first half. Amare Stoudemire made his yellow-and-blue debut and scored 7 points but Ginat and Hamilton kept Hapoel in the mix as Maccabi took a 46-38 advantage into halftime.
Quincy Acy was active for Maccabi in the third quarter with a monster dunk but Williams scored in the paint for Hapoel as the yellow-and-blue continued to lead 55-45 midway through the third quarter. Acy kept scoring and Scottie Wilbekin hit a pair of 3-pointers to head into the final frame ahead 65-49.
Tyler Dorsey got hot for Maccabi while Avdija and Bryant scored as well. Williams kept countering for Hapoel but the hosts stayed in the lead 80-64 as time wound down in the fourth quarter. The Reds scored a number of baskets near the end as the contest ended 84-74 in favor of the yellow-and-blue.