(1988 - )
Omri Casspi (born June 22, 1988) is a Jewish Israeli professional basketball player currently on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the National Basketball Association. He is the first Israeli-born player to have been selected in the first round of the NBA amateur player draft.
Born in 1988, Casspi began playing basketball with Hapoel Holon and made his professional debut in 2005-6 with Maccabi Tel Aviv. After playing with Hapoel Galil Elyon during the 2006-7 season, he returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv and became an integral player, helping the team regain the league title in the 2008-9 season. As a Maccabi, he averaged 12.6 points per game and was named to the all-league team. He also started for the Israel national basketball team and has competed successfully in the European league.
On June 25, 2009, Casspi became the first Israeli-born player to be selected in the NBA draft's first round when the Sacramento Kings chose him with the 23rd overall pick. When he suited up for his NBA debut on October 28, 2009, he became the first Israeli to play in the NBA. Only Israeli Oded Kattash, who had signed a contract to play for the New York Knicks in 1999 but never appeared in a game, had come as close to playing the world's best league. In his debut, Casspi scored 15 points and in his first start on December 16, 2009, he scored 22 points, tying the record for most points scored by any Kings player in his first start since the team moved to Sacramento in 1985.
In 2011, Casspi played in all of Sacramento's 71 games, starting 27 of them. On June 30, 2011, Sacramento traded Casspi and a future draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Photo Credit: Chamber of Fear