But a heavy burden fell on Israeli basketball.
Willie Sims, who played for about two decades in Israel and even starred for Maccabi Tel Aviv, passed away today (Friday) at the age of 64. As you may remember, about four months ago Sims had a heart attack, and since then he fought for his life until he surrendered today.
Sims (photo: Director of the Premier Basketball League, Oded Karni)
Sims, who was born in 1958 in the United States and came to Israel after participating in Maccabiah, became one of the greatest foreigners to play in Israeli basketball.
His first team in Israel was Maccabi Haifa, which he joined in 1981. After that he also moved to Hapoel Tel Aviv (1983-1985) and Elizur Netanya (1985-1987), before being signed by Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer of 1987.
In the yellow ranks he won five championships and three cups, and qualified twice for the European Cup final.
In 1992 he moved to Hapoel Eilat, where he played for four years, and finished his career with Maccabi Hadera in 1999.
After his career he continued to live in Israel.
His daughter, Daniel Sims, is married to the Israel national team coordinator Gal Mekel.