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Miami center Shaquille O'Neal dominating
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Photo: Yossi Rot
Raanan Katz: Pray for Miami Heat
Photo: Yossi Rot

Miami Heat owner: Israel, pray for our victory

Israeli who owns basketball teams on two continents says 'Miami is as much an Israeli team as Maccabi'

Raanan Katz, who partly owns both Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Miami Heat basketball teams, said that the Heat's upcoming duel against the Dallas Mavericks will be very tough."


Speaking from his office, Katz told Ynet: "Dallas is a strong rival; a very dangerous group, and they got here by their own right. No one gave them any presents. The team has good players and it proved that when it beat San Antonio and Phoenix on the way. On the other hand, the feeling in our team is that we can do it and we showed that we can't be ignored when we played against Detroit."


"God can always help; we need him on our side against Dallas," said Katz. "Every Israeli must support us; they must go the Western Wall and pray for us. Miami Heat is no less Israeli than Maccabi. This is also a group with Israeli ownership in which many Americans play."


"The team has already set out for Dallas ahead of its first game in the series and I plan to join them today, because unlike what they think in Israel, I have work here in the company. In any case, I trust Pat Riley, who is doing an excellent job. He prepared the team in an extraordinary way and the feeling is positive, although this won't be easy," Katz added.


Does this remind you of the final-four in Prague?


"For some reason I take Maccabi's loss much more to heart. True, the NBA is the best league in the world, and to win the championship there is a dream come true, no doubt. But for me, Maccabi stands before everything. If you ask me what I prefer, a third European championship with Maccabi, or a first championship with Miami, I would choose a Maccabi win."


Maccabi made history when they beat Toronto. Do you think it can stand up to Miami?


"To be honest, with all respect for Maccabi, it doesn't have a chance against Miami. Maybe only in October, before the season, when the minds of the players are not really on basketball. It reminds me of the loss of the American team in the Olympics. I mean, give me a break. The players came to enjoy a summer vacation, to have a laugh, not to play basketball."


פרסום ראשון: 06.08.06, 22:06
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