This past Wednesday the Hebrew Academy students had a very pleasant surprise.
When students were on their way to the gym for their P.E. elective, they noticed the windows around the gym were covered.
After taking a closer look, students began to crowd around as the truth was revealed: to prepare for their game against the Miami Heat, the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs were playing basketball in the Warriors’ gym!
Students ran around the outside of the gym trying to catch any glance inside—especially of No. 1 2023 NBA draft pick, 7-foot-4 twenty-year-old Victor Wembenyama, otherwise known as “Wemby”.
“It was so cool to watch Victor Wembenyama play in our gym. He’s the tallest person I have ever seen and it was like a dream to see him and the rest of the team play,” stated Zach Schuster (11th).
Eventually the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams were given the amazing opportunity to go inside and watch the Spurs!
They were able to cheer on the side of the court as the NBA players practiced, and even participated in their practice by getting rebounds and passing it to Spurs players to shoot!
Players like point guard Jeremy Sochan and power forward Doug McDermott, as well as Spurs Coach of 27 years, Gregg Popovich, spoke and joked around with the Warriors and took a group photo with everyone.
Sochan even competed against sophomore Shana Strohli in a push-up contest!
“It was really cool to challenge an NBA player in a push-up contest; I feel worthy that I beat him,” Strohli shared.
(Below: Strohli vs. Sochan)
The Warriors were in complete awe, especially being in the presence of and talking to legendary Coach Popovich.
“It was amazing to hear from a legend like that ... even if you don’t follow basketball like I do, you know Gregg Popovich. A legendary coach, and to hear him speak was just amazing,” said Jacob Assaraf (12th) on Associated Press News (https://apnews.com/article/spurs-wembanyama-popovich-practice-801571b9af867e7b08583975d10bc44c).
(Above: the Lady Warriors pose with Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich)
The entire team—coaches and players combined—even huddled up to shout out, in Hebrew, “ביחד”, meaning together.
“The entire experience, being in the gym with the Spurs, was insane. And then for them to shout that out was really meaningful,” commented Tali Winer (10th).
The rest of the student body was able to see the players up close as the Spurs exited the gym and walked through the crowd.
(Above: Victor Wembenyama exiting the gym)
“Every player was so nice and was happy to take pictures with anyone who asked. Seeing these players who we usually only see on TV and dream to be like was something I’ll never forget,” shared Lihen Vaknin (12th).
Students were completely shocked and fascinated by this surprise, and hope the Spurs visit again soon!
By: Elizabeth Ebner (11th)