Berkovich in 2006
February 17, 1954 |
Kfar Saba, Israel
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|NBA draft||1976 / Undrafted|
|1971–1988||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|1988–1993||Maccabi Rishon LeZion|
|1994–1995||Hapoel Tel Aviv|
|Career highlights and awards|
Moshe "Miki" Berkovich, or Mickey Berkowitz (Hebrew: משה "מיקי" ברקוביץ'; born 17 February 1954), is a retired Israeli professional basketball player. A 6'4" shooting guard, he is considered by many of his fellow Israelis to be the greatest Israeli basketball player of all time.
Berkovich was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991 as well as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors by a select panel on February 2008. He was also honored at the EuroLeague Final Four in Madrid.
Born in Kfar Saba, Israel, Berkowitz began his long and distinguished career with Maccabi Tel Aviv at the age of 11 when he joined the youth club. At the age of 15, he was playing for the junior squad. In 1971, at the age of 17, he made his debut with the senior team in Israel's top professional league.
College playing career
In 1975, he played college basketball for UNLV in the United States. During the 1975–76 season, he played in 11 games and averaged 2.5 points per game as the Runnin' Rebels finished 28–1 and were the No. 1 seed in the Western Region of the NCAA tournament. They defeated Boise State, 103–78, in the first round, although Berkowitz registered no points and only one rebound. UNLV then lost to Arizona, 114–105, in the second round; Berkowitz did not play in the game. He returned to Maccabi after just one year.
Club playing career
Berkowitz returned to Israel following the 1975–76 season and played a considerable role in Maccabi Tel Aviv's fortunes during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In 1977, Berkovich helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to win its first European Championship, defeating Mobilgirgi Varese 78:77 in the final held in Pionir Hall, Belgrade and CSKA Moscow 91:79 in semifinal group game held in Virton, Belgium, an achievement that produced Tal Brody's famous sentence "We are on the map, not only in basketball".
In 1981, the second European Championship for Maccabi, against another Italian team, Sinudyne Bologna. Berkovich scored the winning basket from Moti Aroesti's assist, setting the score to 80:77. There were no three point shots back then so the Italian could only score a two point basket and Maccabi won 80:79.
During his playing years with Maccabi, he won 19 national championship titles and 17 national cups.
Israeli national team
In 1972, he took the Israeli under-18 national team to a fourth place finish at the 1972 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, and he was the leading scorer of the tournament. The same year, Berkowitz also won a gold medal at the 1974 Asian Games, in Tehran.
After the EuroBasket 1979, Berkowitz had offers from the New Jersey Nets and the Atlanta Hawks, from the NBA, but a contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv stood in the way (Maccabi management insisted that he stay in the team, so they had to settle the case in civil court).
Post playing career
Berkovich retired from basketball in 1995, after which he wrote an autobiography called Born to Win. He went on to become the owner of the Ramat HaSharon basketball team. Both of his sons, Roi and Niv Berkovich, played for the team at the time. He later became the Director of Basketball Operations of Ironi Naharia, but left the team after just one year.