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Jordan Farmar leaving LA for NY

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 11, 2010 | 9:52 pm

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Last week I received the above invitation and the first thing I wondered was whether Jordan Farmar would be around on Aug. 15 for this benefit for children with cancer. That question has been answered. It looks like Farmar will be flying back from New York:

Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar has agreed to a three-year, $12-million deal with the New Jersey Nets, his agent, Arn Tellem, confirmed to ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher on Sunday night.

“Jordan will be an excellent complement to Devin [Harris] in the backcourt,” Nets president Rod Thorn said in a statement released by the team. “He comes to the Nets with championship pedigree, which will prove to be invaluable to his teammates.”

This is great news for one of the NBA’s only Jews. He’ll finally get his chance to shine.

But the contract is a bit surprising because, save for a great game against the Rockets last season, Farmar hasn’t really done much to warrant $4 million a year. But, then again, Sasha Vujacic made $5 million last year and look at all the bread thrown at Darko this off season. Speaking of Darko, the Free Darko twit had a great line:

FARMAR TO BROOKLYN!!!!!! #hesjewishdontforgetit

How could I? If you did, check out one of my favorite stories, not only from my time at The Jewish Journal but from my time as a journalist. A snippet about Farmar and the history of Jews in basketball:

It’s the second night of Passover, and Jordan Farmar is warming up under the bright lights of Staples Center. His teammates have already slipped into the locker room to decompress before taking the court against the Denver Nuggets. Farmar is still taking shot after shot.

Peeling off imaginary screens, pulling up as he’s running down the court, stepping to the free-throw line. Swish. Swish. Swish.

Alone on the court before the sell-out crowd arrives for one of the last home games of the regular season, Farmar looks as dominant as he did when he led Woodland Hills’ Taft High School to the city title, as flawless as he did in an NCAA run that took UCLA to the championship game. It’s difficult to remember that in his third year playing pro, all with the Los Angeles Lakers, Farmar hasn’t been so splendid: surgery, limited playing time, a diminished role.

Farmar finished the season poorly, and in Sunday’s playoff opener against the Utah Jazz he played just under four minutes, registering zero points and one assist. Lakers fans have started to trash the once-popular back-up point guard who last year showed so much promise.

But Farmar is only 22 and has “nothing but time.” He knows he’ll get his chance and that he cares too much to let it pass by.

And despite the struggles, Farmar already is a well-known name among basketball followers. His “brand,” as he calls it, has been bolstered by playing for two of the most storied teams in college and professional basketball history and by an oddity that would have been unfathomable 50 years ago: Jordan Farmar is the only dual Member of the Tribe and the National Basketball Association.

Indeed, a sport once dominated by Jews now counts only one MOT at the highest level. And Farmar, who doesn’t celebrate Jewish holidays and considers himself spiritual but not religious, is no Sandy Koufax. At the same time, though, Farmar doesn’t shy away from his Jewish heritage, from the mixed racial and ethnic identity to which it contributes or from the pride that many Jews take in having their own hoop hero.

“People see me as somebody they can relate to,” said Farmar, whose mother is Jewish and father, who is black, is Christian. “It’s not something I even think about. It’s more them relating to me; just me representing them and their people and what they believe and stand for. I don’t make a big deal about it. I don’t deny it or don’t stress it. I just live my life and be who I am.”

Read the rest here.

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