Tamir Goodman, the former high school phenom once known as the “Jewish Jordan,” will announce his retirement from pro basketball.
The first Orthodox Jewish player to professionally in Israel and for a brief stint in the United States, Goodman will make the announcement Wednesday at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Goodman, 27, who was dubbed the “Jewish Jordan” in a Sports Illustrated feature when he starred at the Talmudical Academy in Baltimore, will continue spreading the gospel of basketball, Israel and Jewish outreach.
His final team was Maccabi Haifa Heat, for whom he will continue working running its Haifa Hoops for Kids outreach programs in the U.S. Midwest. Goodman will live with his wife and their three children in Cleveland for at least two years.
“I lived out my dream,” he said. “I learned so much along the way. I try to stay positive through everything, and now I hope to inspire others. This is kind of a continuation. It’s the same mission, but it’s going to be a little different.
Goodman, a 6-foot-3 point guard, played five seasons for four Israeli teams. His squads reached the Israeli Cup finals and the Premier League semifinals.
In 2007, he returned to the United States to play for the Maryland Nighthawks in the new Premier Basketball League but was injured after two games. Goodman has had career-altering injuries to a knee and to both hands.
“I physically can’t play anymore at that level,” he said. “I’ve come back from nine big injuries, and three career-ending injuries. I came back from every single one, but last year I shattered my hand, and there was no way I could push through it.”
As a scoring and passing whiz at the Talmudical Academy, local and national media highlighted his play, and crowds jammed its small gym.
Goodman, the most valuable player in the prestigious Capital Classic Prep Basketball All-Star Game, was known equally for his behind-the-back passes and his scoring ability. “The kid with the lid” averaged more than 35 points a game in 1998-99, his junior year at the Talmudical Academy, and more than 24 points a game the next season at Takoma Academy in suburban Washington, D.C.
“I have davened and had Shabbos in places in arenas that never had davening and Shabbos before,” he said. “I had non-Jewish teammates going out of their way to help me. But if you would have asked me at TA would I be retired from basketball at age 27, I would have said no way. But Hashem has a better plan, and it’s his plan.”