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Pini Gershon: "Maccabi Tel Aviv sets too low a threshold" | Israel Today


The 70-year-old veteran basketball man admits: "I do nonsense like a child" • Criticizes Maccabi Tel Aviv: "Its goal, the quarterfinals in the Euroleague, is suitable for small teams" • Satisfied with working for the national team: "Building things for many years" • Stinging Witz Itz: "I do not know how basketball is conducted here" • and concludes: "I enjoy what I do"

The diners at "Agadir - Kosher" did not understand what the celebration was about.

"Pini Gershon is 70 years old? We would not give you 60", they said and made a wide smile on his face, and he laughed: "I am still growing, but laterally".

Yesterday, the 14th of Cheshvan, the veteran basketball man reached retirement age and admitted with a wink: "I finally get money from Social Security," adding: "I don't feel 70 years old. I do nonsense like a child.

When I was young it seemed to me that whoever reaches the age of 70 is a national hero.

I'm glad I work, and I enjoy what I do. "

Do you work because you did not save for retirement?

"I did not save much, but thank God I have money for the rest of my life, and will probably also stay a little for childhood."

You have invented yourself in recent years as a professional manager in the union.

"In the last year at Maccabi Tel Aviv, I knew I had to look for new directions.

As you challenge yourself to new tasks you become younger, and see a few years ahead.

I'm glad I took it.

I could quietly coach a medium-sized team in the country, and I would work less and earn more. "

A lot of coaches have returned to work, and there are also older ones who are still coaches, like Aito, Psic and others.

"I could have taken a mediocre team in Europe, but it did not challenge me."

Hapoel Jerusalem not a challenge?

"Only once did I receive a concrete offer from Mauri Alon, and it did not materialize because of people there, those who were not born when I brought them a trophy."

Are you satisfied with the work in the union?

"Extraordinary fun. Look at the great coaches we had, like the late Ralph Klein and the late Joshua Rosin. They finished coaching in small teams. For me it's something else. I produce coaches, we discover players and build things for many years."

It was once said that you do not like to work and do not like to coach, and now you are traveling all over the country, finding players, meeting with coaches and traveling with all the teams to tournaments and preparatory games.

"I never liked working. The late Yoni Zacks once said that an image could not be changed.

But without working, I succeeded in many things.

"All the coaches in Israel, and abroad, took exercises from me, also training exercises. The legend that I took the European Championship without a coach and only with David Blatt - is not true. I also took one with Dan Shamir and Yaakov Gino."

With Gino, Shamir and two Euroleague trophies, Photo: Alan Shiver

And how did you get to Olympiacos?

"Someone else wanted the job and told the owner I was not transferring the training. I went into a job interview after not sleeping all night. I was sitting in front of the Anglopoulos brothers, and their first question was why I am not transferring training. I asked them what they do in life, and they replied they had a fleet Of 20 ships transporting goods to China. I said to them: 'You own the ships and run the business, but you also clean the ship?'. One of them said to me: 'No, but you will be the coach of Olympiacos.'

And why did you not succeed there?

"The brothers told me: 'We would sign you for five years, but we are afraid of the fans. You are Israeli, you are a Jew, they can throw you a grenade in the yard, and you have little girls.'"

That's not how you manage

In about a month, the Israeli team will begin its journey to the World Cup in a home game against Poland.

Gershon will travel to Belgrade to persuade his friend Zeljko Obradovic to release Yam Madar.

He will have a harder time accepting the players of Maccabi Tel Aviv (who will play that evening with Alba Berlin), if at all.

Did you work hard in the union so that the fruits of success in the youth and the reserve would be reflected in the graduates, and then last Thursday the Israelis of Maccabi Tel Aviv got six seconds against Wheelerban?

"The truth is that I no longer watch all of Maccabi Tel Aviv's games, even though every season I buy two of its subscribers, so that I can distribute to friends.

But let me tell you something, even though half of Maccabi's budget is subscribers, and almost all of the other half are sponsors - they still run it as they please.

Even if all the subscribers and sponsors come together and say to the management: 'You are not managing this well.

At the beginning of the season you tell stories, then in the 8-7 round you are no longer in the picture and there is nothing to play about '- still nothing will change.

"I also did not complain to the coach. In the game he gave the Israelis a chance he lost, so in the game after he decided to play only with foreigners to win. The rope was on his neck, and if he lost in France the ground would shake. I might have done the same."

There were expectations from Maccabi this season, and already in October the rope around the coach's neck?

"A lot less previous coaches at Maccabi have gone, but Yannis Sapropoulos knows how to behave correctly. Maccabi's goal is to reach the quarterfinals, for me that was never the goal. The quarterfinals are to be like Zenith - it suits small teams that lag behind. Maccabi, it does not fit into one of the biggest clubs in Europe. "

Nikola Vujicic said in an interview in Lithuania that there is not enough work in Israel.

"When was he in coaching the national teams? This is the determination of someone who does not know how basketball is conducted here. A large part of the players in the national teams are from Maccabi's youth department, and I know they work there correctly. The results do not look like that. "

"Katsh did not do well"

Twice Pini Gershon was close to coaching Panathinaikos, Maccabi Tel Aviv's rival tonight. In April 2013 he received a call to come to Athens, but preferred to wait for the summer to rebuild. 'Avi Pascavell was appointed in his place.

How surprised were you when they fired Oded Katash from Panathinaikos?

"If he had asked me, I would have told him the script in advance. I know them, and nothing surprised me. Oded is a coach with a method, like the one Obradovich trained in. He runs a good game, he trains well. I do not understand "For what was he judged, for one loss or another? With a staff he did not build?"

Why does Katsch not coach the team?

"He behaved so badly in front of the union, and decided whoever decided he would not continue. Oded also knows that he made a mistake in the conduct. It was not about something professional."

Oded Katash, Photo: Pini Silok

Which is more important: to succeed in the European Championship or to reach the World Championship?

"Everything is important. We need to look at what squad we will have, and see how the rivals will come. It's no secret that I thought Ariel Beit Halachmi should get the job. He coached the reserve and took two European Championships with it, and I also said that to Guy Goodes, but as soon as the latter got "I am 200 percent with him. I will do everything to help him and the success of the team."

Do you mind not working in the NBA?

(Laughs): "I can not coach there. Despite my English we took three European Championships at Maccabi, and I always say that if the players understood what I was saying we would not take."

Are you in touch with people at Maccabi?

"Some people do not, with the majority yes."

"I served the media"

Throughout his career, Gershon provided sayings that angered his opponents.

In recent years it has moved a bit to the side.

"I came to the conclusion that I served the media. Sometimes I was happy with it too. But at my age I need peace of mind and enjoyment of what I do. No more than that."

Do you regret things you said or did in the past?

For example, about your behavior at Madison Square Garden?

"What do I have to regret? It was our fundraising game, and a clown who didn't even train at the NBA came, he was just a candidate to coach there. A minute before he sent him off, Nate Robinson threw a ball at his feet and cursed at him, and I asked him If he understands English and if Robinson said something I did not say, and he kept me away. Without the late David Stern I would not have come out.

He called the secretariat and asked to be told to leave. "

And for your statement that the EuroCup that Jerusalem took is worth 20 shekels?

"I talked about their statement that Europe is red. Have you heard Ness Ziona say that Europe is orange? I appreciate every trophy, but their statement was exaggerated. I never think before what I say, but say what I have on my tongue at that moment. "When I was in Jerusalem I talked about Maccabi, and when I was at Maccabi I talked about Jerusalem."

Finally, what can I wish you?

"Health, and that an interview was done even when I was 80 and 90 years old."

Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2021-10-20

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