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Moshe "Miki" Berkovich, or Mickey Berkowitz (Hebrew: משה "מיקי" ברקוביץ'; born 17 February 1954), is a retired Israeli professional basketball player. A 6'4" shooting guard, he is considered by many of his fellow Israelis to be the greatest Israeli basketball player of all time.
Berkovich in 2006
|Born||February 17, 1954|
Kfar Saba, Israel
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|NBA draft||1976 / Undrafted|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|1988–1993||Maccabi Rishon LeZion|
|1994–1995||Hapoel Tel Aviv|
|Career highlights and awards|
|FIBA Hall of Fame as player|
Berkovich was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991. In 1998, he was named Israel's Top Sportsmen of the 50 Year Jubilee (1948–1998). He was named one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors, by a select panel in February 2008, and was then honored at the 2008 EuroLeague Final Four, in Madrid. He was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
Born in Kfar Saba, Israel, Berkovich began his long and distinguished career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, at the age of 11, when he joined the youth club. At the age of 15, he was playing for the junior squad. In 1971, at the age of 17, he made his debut with the senior men's team in Israel's top professional league.
College playing careerEdit
In 1975, he played college basketball at UNLV, in the United States. During the 1975–76 season, he played in 11 games and averaged 2.5 points per game, as the Runnin' Rebels finished 28–1, and were the No. 1 seed in the Western Region of the NCAA tournament. They defeated Boise State, 103–78, in the first round, although Berkovich registered no points and only one rebound. UNLV then lost to Arizona, 114–109, in the second round; Berkovich did not play in the game. He returned to Maccabi, after just one year.
Club playing careerEdit
Berkovich returned to Israel following the 1975–76 season, and played a considerable role in Maccabi Tel Aviv's fortunes during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In 1977, Berkovich helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to win its first FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague) championship, by defeating Mobilgirgi Varese, by a score of 78:77 in the final, held in Pionir Hall, Belgrade, and CSKA Moscow 91:79 in the semifinals game held in Virton, Belgium. An achievement that led to Tal Brody's famous statement of, "We are on the map, not only in basketball".
In 1981, the second FIBA European Champions Cup title came for Maccabi, against another Italian team, Sinudyne Bologna. Berkovich scored the winning basket from an assist by Moti Aroesti, setting the score at 80:77. There were no three point shots back then, so the Italians could only score a two-point basket in return, and Maccabi won the game, by a score of 80:79.
After the EuroBasket 1979, Berkovich had contract offers from the New Jersey Nets and the Atlanta Hawks, from the NBA, but a contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv stood in the way. Maccabi's management insisted that he stay in the team, so they had to settle the case in civil court.
National team careerEdit
In 1972, Berkovich took the Israeli under-18 national team to a fourth-place finish at the 1972 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, and he was the leading scorer of the tournament. The same year, Berkovich also won a gold medal at the 1974 Asian Games, in Tehran.
In 1979, Berkovich was a part of the senior Israeli national basketball team that finished second (behind the Soviet national team) at the 1979 EuroBasket, in Turin. Berkovich was named the tournament MVP.
Upon his retirement, he was second all-time in appearances (165), and points scored (2,842), among members of the senior men's Israeli national basketball team.
Post playing careerEdit
Berkovich retired from basketball in 1995, after which he wrote an autobiography called Born to Win. He went on to become the owner of the A.S. Ramat HaSharon basketball team. Both of his sons, Roi and Niv Berkovich, played for the team at the time. He later became the Director of Basketball Operations of Ironi Nahariya, but left the team after just one year.