Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Is this the Jewish Dwight Howard?

A Northwestern basketball walk-on has fans excited

Print Email
Aaron Liberman (NY2LASports.com)

You could assemble quite a JCC team from the Jewish basketball manques of the last generation. Google “Tamir Goodman,” perhaps the most ballyhooed of the erstwhile “Jewish Jordans,” and you get suggested searches for Omri Casspi, Jon Scheyer, Jordan Farmar, and Sam Jacobson. Jews famously excelled in the early years of the NBA but have produced few stars since. Jews are more likely to own NBA teams—or run the league, in the case of commissioner David Stern—than appear on a roster.

It’s with that context established that we introduce you to the next Jewish basketball player likely to be the subject of irrational exuberance: Aaron Liberman, a walk-on for the Northwestern University Wildcats. It’s not that we don’t hope for the 6-10, 220-lb., yarmulke-wearing Liberman to become a star. It’s just that we’ve been down this road many times before, and there can seem something a touch gauche, if not chauvinist, about rooting for a ballplayer just because he’s Jewish. (Exploring the particular experiences of Jewish athletes is a far more fruitful endeavor, and we take this opportunity to alert you to Jewish Jocks, the upcoming anthology co-edited by Scroll editor emeritus Marc Tracy.)

I find a similar discomfort in the use of the sobriquet “Jewish Jordan,” as if being Tamir Goodman, a fine if ultimately underachieving ballplayer, were not enough. It’s dispiriting, this custom of defining success by the impossible standards of others. And take this well-intentioned comment from Robert Icart, who coached Liberman at Valley Torah High School: ”If he has a good career there, you could see all the student section wearing yarmulkes to the game.” Icart, who was speaking to Yahoo! Sports, is hoping for his former player’s success, but there’s an unsettling air of tokenism around his remark. I’d rather a yarmulke not be part of a cheering section costume.

All the same, I’ll be watching Liberman’s career with interest and will be glad to see him succeed. You just won’t find me calling him the Jewish Dwight Howard; Aaron Liberman, future star or not, is enough.

Aaron Liberman Joins Northwestern Basketball Team, Causes Jewish Blogger To Freak Out
Related: Tomy Romo Plays Jewball [Tablet Magazine]

Print Email
PhillipNagle says:

I refuse to root for Aaron Liberman because he is Jewish. However I will root for him because he is going to Northwestern. This is the year for the NCAA tournament (I’ve been saying that for decades). Go Wildcats!

He’s hot!

Michael says:

Plays more like a Pau Gasol rather than a Dwight Howard to me…

Looks like a 4-year collegiate to me. Jewish or not, he looks more like a Cole Aldrich.

Seriously? This guy is skinny, slow and has no hops what so ever.

wow great clip of some serious layups. get some game u tskalitis

The Jewish Dwight Howard?!?!?! HAHAHAHAHA. More like the Jewish Kwame Brown…

jonathanhakim says:

Ha – I thought of Tamir Goodman the second I saw the headline.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Is this the Jewish Dwight Howard?

A Northwestern basketball walk-on has fans excited

More on Tablet:

Basya Schechter Mixes Prayer Songs With Brass, Oud, and Radiohead

By Vox Tablet — On a new album, the captivating leader of the band Pharaoh’s Daughter reclaims the music that dominated her religious childhood