Maccabi Tel Aviv players train at the Milan facility before Virtus Bologna (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
On Monday morning, the second and last game of the season will be held between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers, and in the United States we know that for Danny Abedia it will be another special meeting with Russell Westbrook.
Last night (Friday) "Athletic" published an extensive article about the relationship between the Israeli and the veteran star, who served as his mentor during the rookie season two years ago, something that is appreciated by the Wizards' organization to this day.
"He really cared about me. He cared that I would succeed and he wanted me to be mentally strong," Avdia said.
"Every time he sees me, he gives me advice or tells me what I need to improve, and I like that. He has a lot of influence on me, because he was the first veteran star I met when I got to the NBA."
This was also the case two weeks ago, when at the end of the loss to the Lakers in which the Israeli was left free outside the arc time after time, and missed seven of the eight three-pointers he shot, Westbrook approached him at the end and told him to keep shooting confidently until the shooting crisis passes.
In the article, we noted that despite a 13-year difference in age, and the fact that the point guard who was previously crowned MVP and appeared nine times in the All-Star Game grew up in South Carolina, compared to Avdia, who is only in his third season in the league and grew up in Israel, personality-wise the two have common denominators that "Rass" recognized at an early stage.
"He's a special kid," Westbrook said of Avdia.
"Of course he played professional basketball before we signed him, but you could see his potential. Since I've been in the league, when I see someone with potential, I try to help him in the best way I can and know. He's a good kid."
Danny Avdia with mentor Russell Westbrook in the rookie season (photo: official website, the Twitter account of the Wizards)
Westbrook was there for Avdia when the latter not only started his debut season in the best league in the world, but also moved to a new country when he was only 19 years old.
Washington assistant coach Ryan Richman recalled: "Russ is one of the best leaders I've seen and been around, he makes everyone hold themselves to high standards. So with Danny, Roy Hachimura and those guys, he was amazing. Sometimes he was the biggest critic theirs, but at the same time also the biggest fan. He did a good job of knowing when to pick them up and when to be hard on them."
Anthony Gill, one of the only remnants left in the group from that season, said: "Every time Danny needed tough love, Russ gave him tough love, because many times Danny is not completely focused. And when Danny was in such moments, Russ would immediately try to wake him up, but then He would get on the bus and act like the best friend. 'Let's go to dinner, let's do something,' things like that. It was a different kind of bond,
The Israeli appreciates this: "I'm glad I had a tough mentor like him in my first year. It helped me absorb a lot of things, strengthened me mentally and made me stay ready in every game during the season. That's why I love him."
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Westbrook tries to steal Lavdia in the last meeting between them (Photo: Reuters)
Even last season it happened after a loss by the Wizards, but after Avdia scored 17 points along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists against Westbrook's Lakers, the latter warned the forward: "I will kill you if you don't play like this every night."
Abdia promised: "I will do my best to keep it," and on the night between Sunday and Monday he will hope to show his good friend that he is implementing his advice.