Day 25: Big Shot Bob

Omertime

Today is Day 25 Netzachsheb’netzah. #Winning #Ringz

When you look at the list of NBA players with the most championships, 8 of the top 9 are members of the great Boston Celtic teams of the 1950s and 60s.

The 9th is Robert Horry aka “Big Shot Bob.” 

Besides those Celtics, Horry has won more titles than Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and everyone else in NBA history. While he was never the best or second best player on any of those teams, he contributed to every title team he played on and to each of his 7 championships. Horry was a talented, multi-dimensional role player, who hit clutch shot after clutch shot, earning the nickname, “Big Shot Bob.” 

On Day 25,netzach sheb’netzach, (pure victory), we honor the man who always seemed to come through with the big play at the most crucial…

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Day 24: The Professor

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Today is Day 24 of the Omer. Tif’eret sheb’netzach. Within endurance, there is beauty.

Andre Miller first came on my radar as the point guard for the University of Utah basketball team, led by Keith Van Horn in 1995. In 1998, with Van Horn gone, he led the Runnin’ Utes to an upset of the defending champion Arizona Wildcats in the Elite 8 with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists. In the Final Four, he had 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists as Utah defeated a UNC team led by Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison, before Utah lost in the NCAA Championship game to Kentucky.

Miller was an All-American in college, but he never made an All-Star team in the NBa. While he doesn’t possess the NBA accolades of some other choices On The Mystical Shape of the Hoophead, he epitomizes Day 24,tif’eret sheb’netzah. During the…

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Day 26: Kyle Korver

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Today is Day 26 of the Omer. Hod sheb’netzach. Humility that emerges from endurance.

Throughout his 16 year NBA career, Kyle Korver has carved out a role as an elite three point shooter and floor spacer. Four times, he’s led the league in three point shooting and for his career he has averaged 42.9%. Even at age 39, just having Korver stand in the corner or on the wing, opens up the floor for his teammates because of his incredible gravity.

Being able to last that long in the NBA, with six different teams, makes Korver an apt choice for the week of netzach, or endurance. But it’s the perspective he gained over his career that makes him the best choice for Day 26, hod sheb’netzach, a day that honors the humility that emerges from endurance.

That humility is most evident in “Privileged,” where he takes on racism…

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Alternative Day 23: Maya Moore

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Today is Day 23 of the Omer. Gevurah sheb’netzach. Power that comes from victory.

If Day 23 were just about victory (netzach), Maya Moore would be a perfectly defensible selection.  In 2017, Sports Illustrated called her “the greatest winner in the history of women’s basketball.”  It is tough to argue with that.  In high school, she was named an All-American, Player of the Year, and Athlete of the Year.  She won three state titles and a national title, while losing a total of three games.  In college, she won two national titles and lost a total of four games.  She remains the only three-time winner of the Wade Trophy, which is awarded to the best player in women’s college basketball.  So she did not win the award one year?!  Well yes, but freshman are not eligible for the Wade Trophy.  So she won it every year that she could.

All of that would…

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Day 23: Jordan vs. LeBron

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Today is Day 23. Gevurah sheb’netzach. Endurance/Victory that manifests in Power.

Well, if you thought the choice on Day 21 was hard, welcome to Day 23. Who you got: Michael Jordan or LeBron James? I’m not talking about the debate for G.O.A.T. I’m talking about who most embodies gevurah sheb’netzach, the power that emerges from endurance or victory. 

I won’t keep you in suspense. My choice for Day 23 is…

I hear you. Michael Jordan has more championships than LeBron (6 vs 3). If we quantify power by wealth, he wins again ($1.9b to $480m). And while LeBron James plays for an NBA team, Michael owns one (granted, it is the Charlotte Hornets).

Nobody epitomizes victory in the modern NBA, like Michael Jordan who went 6-0 in the NBA Finals and nobody has capitalized on their basketball abilities and celebrity appeal like Jordan. His Airness even embodies…

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Day 21: The Big Ticket or The Big Fundamental?

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Today is Day 21 of the Omer. Malchut sheb’tiferet. Beauty/balance/truth that manifests as Kingship.

Jersey numbers are strange. 300 players have worn the #21 in NBA history. Only 26 have worn the #29. Why? I don’t think 29 is that bad of a number. But when it comes to choosing one player to represent a popular number, like 21, it’s hard. For what it’s worth: my all-time team of #21’s (in no particular order):

  • Jimmy Butler (CHI)
  • Dominique Wilkins (ATL+)
  • Tim Duncan (SAS)
  • Joel Embid (PHI)
  • Kevin Garnett (MIN)
  • Bill Sharman (BOS)
  • Michael Cooper (LAL)
  • Alvin Robertson (SAS/MIL)
  • Sidney Wicks (POR/LAC)
  • Vlade Divac (SAC)

This is the challenge on Day 21 of the Omer, malchut sheb’tif’eret. Who is the best embodiment of balance/beauty/truth manifest as nobility/kingship/shechinah?

I’m going to narrow it down to two 7 footers, born a month apart in 1976: Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Both are 15x…

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Day 20: The Scientist

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Today is Day 20. Yesod sheb’tiferet. The beautiful pioneer.

With the 57th pick from the in the 1999 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected an unknown guard from Argentina, Manu Ginóbili. Once Ginóbili made his NBA debut in 2002, it didn’t take long for Manu to make a name for himself. Over an illustrious 16 year career with the San Antonio Spurs, he became a 2x All-Star and 4x NBA Champion, while averaging 13.3 points and 3.8 assists/game.

When he retired in 2018, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote: “An NBA champion and All-Star, Manu Ginóbili is also a pioneer who helped globalize the NBA.” Like Joseph, the Biblical figure associated with today’s sefirah, yesod, Ginóbili was a pioneer. 

He was the star of Argentina’s Golden Generation that produced 10 NBA players and a 2004 Olympic Gold Medal. In their critical semifinal game, he scored 29 points…

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Day 19: The Captain

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Today is Day 19 of the Omer. Hod sheb’tiferet. Compassion that leads to Gratitude.

If you know one thing about Knicks great Willis Reed, it’s probably his heroic appearance in Game 7 of the 1970 Finals vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. After suffering a torn thigh muscle in Game 5, his team rallied to victory, but they were clearly outmatched against the Lakers in Game 6. With the series tied 3-3, there was significant doubt that Reed would be able to play at all. But on one leg, he inspired the Knicks and Madison Square Garden for a historic win.

That year, Reed became the first player in NBA history to be named the NBA All-Star Game MVP, the NBA regular season MVP, and the NBA Finals MVP in the same season. A tough, undersized center, Reed was a 7x All-Star, who averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds/game in his…

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The Shape of the Hoophead

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Each day, we will select one basketball player who best embodies the combination of sefirot for that week and day and whose jersey matches the day. You might think that would be too limiting, but according to Basketball Reference, 332 players in NBA history have worn the #3 at some point in their career. When you include, WNBA players and the Olympics, it’s almost too much.

Players will be chosen based on:

  1. Their embodiment of that day’s combination of sefirot.
  2. Their overall greatness as the player
  3. Their performance wearing that jersey number.
  4. Their overall contribution to and representation of the sport.

That’s it. We’re not selecting the best player to wear each number and we’re not selecting our favorite player. We’re creating the primordial basketball player, the prototype and the ideal.

This post will be updated each day.

Day/JerseyWeekDayPlayer
1Hesed (Loving-Kindness)Hesed (Loving-Kindness)Mo…

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Day 18: The Zen Master

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Today is Day 18. Netzach sheb’tif’eret. Balance that leads to winning.

On Day 18, two days before Yom Haatzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, I’d like to give a special shout to the best NBA player ever from Israel, Omri Casspi.

But todays’ final choice came down to two 6’8”/6’9” left-handed, power forwards, who played in the 1970s.

Player A was Rookie of the Year, league MVP, an 8x All-Star, and 2x champion, while averaging 17.6 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists over his Hall of Fame career. 

Player B made the All-Rookie team and won one NBA championship as a valuable role player. He retired with averages of 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.

Player A was Celtics great, Dave Cowens. But on Day 18, netzachsheb’tif’eret,a day that embodies balance made manifest in victory, we are honoring Player B, Phil Jackson, who collected 11 more championships as the…

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