Tamir Goodman is coming home. And this time, he'll gladly leave his old nickname behind him, stashed with all the hype and unmet expectations that became such a burden.
Goodman, dubbed the "Jewish Jordan" by Sports Illustrated during his junior year at Talmudical Academy in Baltimore, will join the Maryland Nighthawks of the new Premier Basketball League after playing professionally in Israel. He'll be introduced to the media Wednesday at a news conference at Georgetown Prep, and his first game will be in January.
"Obviously, this is a major acquisition for both our team and the community," Nighthawks co-owner Tom Doyle said in a statement.
Goodman, 25, made headlines at Talmudical Academy when he averaged 35.4 points a game as a junior guard and was ranked the 25th-best high school player in the country. ESPN and 60 Minutes did stories on him, focusing on the novelty of an Orthodox Jewish basketball player who wore a yarmulke on the court and whose religion forbade him from competing during the weekly Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
The Nighthawks will excuse Goodman from playing during that time period and have scheduled their home games so that he can participate.
"I loved living and playing in Israel, but I'm thrilled to come home to Maryland and join the Nighthawks," Goodman said.
Goodman received a scholarship offer from the University of Maryland, but he was released from his oral commitment in 1999 when the Terrapins couldn't meet his religious needs. He spent parts of two seasons at Towson University, averaging six points and four assists as a freshman, then leaving the team the next year after accusing coach Michael Hunt of throwing a chair at him in the locker room.
After parts of two seasons at Towson, Goodman fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving to Israel and signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv in July 2002. He also played for Givat Shmuel and for Kirvat Ata and Maccabi Shoham in lower divisions, and served in the Israeli Defense Force, a requirement for all citizens.