Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Jewish Jordan

Cindy Scarr

I got 700 media requests in one week after that, and appeared in a four-page spread in Sports Illustrated. They called me “the Jewish Jordan”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

 Mishpacha image


T amir Goodman, 34, Jerusalem, Israel

In the beginning

I was a normal kid with a great childhood. I had good friends, a terrific school and coaches, a close-knit family, and a warm and open home. My dad z”l was a real role model for me. He was one of the first lawyers in the US to wear his kippah in court. I remember one day he took me with him. I was sitting on the last bench, and when my dad walked into the courtroom, I was so proud to see him with his kippah. I knew I wanted to be just like him when I grew up.

I started playing basketball when I was five. I liked all sports, but nothing came close to my love of basketball. When I was 10 or 11 — I don’t remember exactly — I’d leave the house at 9 a.m. and go to the inner-city basketball courts. They didn’t let me play — the games were all adults — but I’d wait there all day, just dribbling on the sidelines. At nine p.m., when it was late enough that they didn’t have enough guys anymore, I could get into a full-court game for a few minutes. My parents had confidence in me — my dad often came down to the courts to watch me play.

A Jewish teacher from my day school passed by once and saw me there. The next day she asked: “Aren’t you afraid to be there?” I told her that I wasn’t. In fact, it was the place I felt most comfortable.

The moment I became a household name

Early in 11th grade, when I was 17, the coach from University of Maryland saw me play in a high school game. Maryland is a Division school, the highest level of intercollegiate athletics, and he immediately offered me a full four-year scholarship. That’s a big deal! He told me, “I’m already sure, but I’m coming back tomorrow to see your game, just because I enjoy watching you play.” It was my favorite team and my favorite school, but I told them I could only commit if I didn’t have to play on Shabbat or chagim.


How my life changed

I got 700 media requests in one week after that, and I appeared in a four-page spread in Sports Illustrated. They called me “the Jewish Jordan.” There was a picture of me wearing tefillin in the article.

The University of Maryland later reneged on its promise about no Shabbat games, so I committed to Towson University outside Baltimore. It’s also a D-1 school and they changed their schedule to accommodate me. I received a full athletic college scholarship and became the first and only Orthodox Jewish player to play D-1. Not only that, I did it wearing a yarmulke and not playing on Shabbat. My family was so supportive, but it was still tough. My schedule was packed. Sometimes my mom met me at airports in the middle of the night to give me kosher food.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?