Monday, January 07, 2008

An American in Tel Aviv

Will Bynum playing for the Golden State Warriors (

I've always been curious about the life of an NBA castoff plying his craft on Israel's hardwood. Now Maccabi Tel Aviv's Will Bynum has given us a glimpse. When I was in the country a year ago, the press was pumping up Bynum as one of -- if not the dominant player in Israeli hoops. The former Chicago playground legend and Georgia Tech/U. of Arizona standout seemed to have found a home in TA after a brief NBA sojourn that included time spent here in the Bay Area in the employ of the Golden State Warriors. Bynum is likely to find his new home rather less hospitable after an incident that took place early Saturday morning outside a nightclub called the "G-Spot" in Tel Aviv. Apparently, Bynum and former Philadelphia 76-er Vonteego Cummings were out celebrating Bynum's 25th birthday with Bynum's brother and, potentially, a larger cadre of pro-ballers that frequent the hip-hop club. Bynum's party clashed with a group from Dimona, members of the Hebrew Israelite Community in Dimona, according to the police. The Dimona-ites claim Bynum made a pass at a woman in their crowd. An initial scuffle was settled, but Bynum and his boys found an angry pack of "youths" in the parking lot when they later left the club. Bynum seems to have dashed to his car with Cummings and driven directly at one of his attackers. A 22 year-old man survived the collision, but was severely injured, leaving bloodstains on Bynum's vehicle.

I'm often struck by how hostile clubs and bars are -- an atmosphere I'm less and less comfortable in. This may sound banal, but I, for one, am continually astonished. So was this incident just good old-fashioned drinkin' and fightin' à la Americaine? I'm not sure. I would love to have been a fly on the wall. What was the dynamic here? A Boston Celtics fan blog ludicrously misread this as "Zionist" vs. Other. Some, understandably in light of a spate of recent attacks on pro athletes, see this as further evidence that heckling now involves bodily harm. And the American media hasn't picked up on the fact that, the Hebrew Israelites are, well, basically American, with an African-American pedigree that goes back to the inner circle of Marcus Garvey. Or maybe I'm making precisely the same mistake of mislabeling that Bynum and Vonteego made. Either way, the story should have been material for a perversely imaginative American writer like Ralph Ellison or Chester Himes.


Nobody said...

i tried to comment there but they did not let it through ... here is another post that you may be interested to comment on: The Crux of the Matter

Amos said...

"Nice detective work, Noah." Haha. Okay, those people were ignorant. I'm glad you set them straight. Nice assist, Nobody.

Nobody said...

these people are ok .. at first i thought they blocked my comment but then i noticed that they published it .. they are beseder