Miki Berkovich

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Miki Berkovich
Micky Berkowitz.jpg
Berkovich in 2006
Personal information
Born (1954-02-17) February 17, 1954 (age 65)
Kfar Saba, Israel
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
CollegeUNLV (1975–1976)
NBA draft1976 / Undrafted
Playing career1971–1995
PositionShooting guard
Career history
Maccabi Tel Aviv
1988–1993Maccabi Rishon LeZion
1993–1994Hapoel Jerusalem
1994–1995Hapoel Tel Aviv
Career highlights and awards
FIBA Hall of Fame as player

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 was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991, as well as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors, by a select panel in February 2008. He was also honored at the EuroLeague Final Four in Madrid. He was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in Kfar Saba, Israel, Berkowitz 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 team in Israel's top professional league.

College playing career[edit]

In 1975, he played college basketball for 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 Berkowitz registered no points and only one rebound. UNLV then lost to Arizona, 114–105, in the second round; Berkowitz did not play in the game. He returned to Maccabi after just one year.

Club playing career[edit]

Berkowitz 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), defeating Mobilgirgi Varese 78:77 in the final held in Pionir Hall, Belgrade and CSKA Moscow 91:79 in semifinal group game held in Virton, Belgium, an achievement that produced Tal Brody's famous sentence "We are on the map, not only in basketball".

In 1981, the second FIBA European Champions Cup came for Maccabi, against another Italian team, Sinudyne Bologna. Berkovich scored the winning basket from Moti Aroesti's assist, setting the score to 80:77. There were no three point shots back then so the Italian could only score a two-point basket and Maccabi won 80:79.

Berkovich's career in Maccabi came to the end in 1988, when he and Aroesti joined Maccabi Rishon LeZion. Later he played for Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv.

During his playing years with Maccabi, he won 16 Israeli national league championship titles, and 13 Israeli national cups.

Israeli national team[edit]

In 1972, he 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, Berkowitz also won a gold medal at the 1974 Asian Games, in Tehran.

In 1979, Berkovich was a part of the senior Israeli national team that finished second (behind the Soviet national team) at the EuroBasket 1979 in Turin. Berkovich was named the tournament MVP.

P.M. Shamir and Mickey Berkowitz, 1987

At 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.

NBA offers[edit]

After the EuroBasket 1979, Berkowitz had 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 management insisted that he stay in the team, so they had to settle the case in civil court).

Post playing career[edit]

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 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 Naharia, but left the team after just one year.


External links[edit]