Flagrant Foul: NBA Jam, EuroLeague Don’t Recognize Tel Aviv

It’s a flagrant foul that NBA Jam and the EuroLeague erased Tel Aviv from a trailer for the next NBA Jam: On Fire Edition.

The game features the final four teams from last Euroleague Championship: Maccabi Tel Aviv, Montepaschi Sienna, Real Madrid, and Panathinaikos.

Problem is, Liel Leibovitz calls a foul. The trailer identifies Maccabi Tel Aviv as as “Maccabi Electra.”

But among the “boomshakalakas” and other fist-pumping excitements, one thing seemed odd: While the other teams—Montepaschi Sienna, Real Madrid, and Panathinaikos—were identified by name, my home town team was presented as Maccabi Electra. Why would the game’s makers stress Maccabi’s corporate affiliation—Electra is a large Israeli construction conglomerate—but suppress its ties to Tel Aviv? Why do the dudes from Sienna and Madrid get to fly their local colors (Athens-based Panathinaikos is always referred to just by that one name) while the Israelis are relegated to national anonymity (minus, admittedly, the Star of David that adorns Maccabi’s logo)? Could EA Sports, the world’s premiere maker of sports video games, be run by notorious Israel-haters?

. . . .

My soul further darkened when I saw the banner on the top of the Website; the Final Four’s sponsor, I learned (as you can also see in the trailer), is Turkish Airlines.

EA Sports, which produced the video game told Leibovitz they take their cues from the EuroLeague. Indeed, the EuroLeague web site also identifies the team as “Maccabi Electra.”

Unless there’s some sponsorship issue with the Electra conglomerate, I don’t understand why Tel Aviv is the only city not specifically named. It’s like renaming the NY Yankees the Anheuser-Busch Yankees.

Panathinaikos beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague final in May.

Read Leibovitz’s whole piece at Tablet.


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