Grizzlies-Kings game to pit NBA's first Iranian vs. first Israeli

If tonight's Memphis Grizzlies game at the Sacramento Kings didn't have enough points of interest -- Allen Iverson's Griz debut, former Tigers great Tyreke Evans leading the opposing team -- USA Today presents another fascinating angle to the contest: The NBA's first Israeli player, Kings rookie Omri Casspi, might face off against the league's first Iranian, Griz big man Hamed Haddadi. Let your imagination run wild with the geopolitical implications.

As USA Today points out, "Iranian athletes or teams have withdrawn from international competitions where they might face Israelis." (Examples here and here.) However, Haddadi -- who spent time in Iran during the summer of protests and crackdowns -- isn't making much of it:

"It is just a sport," Haddadi told FanHouse.com. "I don't know what happened with the two countries. I don't care. I just do my job."

SportingNews.com also isn't making much of it, perhaps echoing the thoughts of most Memphis fans: "I mean come on, this is really bigger news than AI's first game as a Grizzly?"

6 Comments

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Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.