Israel’s only NBA player and former star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Â are making news in the Jewish state
(JTA) — The face of Israel’s first and only NBA player will be seen soon in his native land endorsing the “Cornflakes of Champions.”
Omri Casspi, who plays for the Sacramento Kings, Â has a long way to go before he graces a box of Wheaties, but he will earn $200,000 for pushing Telma cornflakes, dubbed the “Cornflakes of Champions.”
- Omri Casspi waited for a foul shot, next to DarkoÂ MiliÄiÄ‡, during the Kings visit to the Target Center on March 20. (Photo: Mordecai Specktor)
Casspi formerly played with the championship Maccabi Tel Aviv team.
“We want to express the meaning of the message, ‘the power to succeed,'” Unilever Israel marketing manager Ruth Salomon-Goldberg told the Israeli business daily Globes, adding that “Casspi is one of the persons best identified with Israeli success” and that the link between him and the Telma cereal brand “is natural.”
Casspi said that he grew up with Telma, like most Israelis.
“It is part of my home and family,”Â he said. “For me the connection with Telma, and especially the message it will convey — the power to succeed — is natural, and I am glad for the opportunity.”
Meanwhile, American basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is scheduled to visit Israel in July to meet with former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.
Abdul-Jabbar plans to meet with Lau, currently the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, to discuss a film he is making based on the book Brothers in Arms, about the American troops who liberated Nazi concentration camps at the end of World War II.
Abdul-Jabbar, whose father served in the 761st Tank Battalion that liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, is co-author of the book. Lau and his brother were liberated from the camp.
Lau told Ynet that Abdul-Jabbar’s father, Ferdinand Alcindor, asked his son to visit Israel and meet the boy who became a prominent rabbi. The men met 14 years ago. Lau says he remembers Abdul-Jabbar’s father from the Buchenwald rescue.