Top 5 Sports Stories of 2021

Mark Malyar

Mark Malyar Wins Gold (screen capture)

There were plenty of big Jews in sports stories this past year. How to choose just 5 of them?

Well, we could have given you stories about the mercurial owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban. But we write about him all of the time. Instead, we decided to stick to the positive, we almost entirely the positive anyway. Like Israel’s winning performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

So here now, in now particular order, is the JBN list of the top 5 Jewish sport stories for 2021.

Marv Albert
Sportscasting legend Marv Albert retired. Albert ended his storied career after the NBA playoffs came to an end in June. He turned 80 on June 12.

No sports fan who grew up since the 1970s will be able to get used to a sports world without him. That is how synonymous Marv Albert became to the world of sports, surpassing even Howard Cosell.

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Marv Albert was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family. His family owned a grocery store on Brighton Beach Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets known as Aufrichtig. He studded broadcasting at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications from 1960 through 1963. Albert got his start announcing games in 1962 for the minor league AAA baseball team the Syracuse Chiefs. He graduated from New York University in 1965.

He was certainly a trailblazer. Albert pursued his career in sports at a time before television had become the standard medium for everything. Color TVs were still so new in the mid-1960s that TV shows had to declare on screen “Presented in Color” as part of a bid to promote the sale of color televisions to people who were still using black and white sets. Back then no one got famous from being a sportscaster. Howard Cosell was just making his break out s America’s first celebrity sportscaster.

Israel at the Tokyo 2020 Games
The year delay caused by the Covid shutdowns for the 2020 Olympic Games did not hurt Team Israel. The Israelis came away with a national record of 4 medals, including 2 gold.

Israel also sent the largest Olympic delegation in its history to Tokyo , totaling 90 athletes. It even had a baseball team this year.

The Israeli medal winners were: Linoy Ashram, the 2020 Olympic Gymnast All-around champion, Gold Medal; Artium Dolgofiat, Floor Exercise, Gymnastic, Gold Medal; Avishag Samberg, Taekwondo, Bronze Medal; Judo Team, Bronze Medal.

Anastasya Gorbenko

Anastasya Gorbenko Toyio Olympicas 2021- Wikipedia

Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, does not think highly of his team’s head coach Bill Belichick.

This is just one of the many revelations included in a new book about the Patriots called “It’s Better to Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness” written by ESPN writer Seth Wickersham.

Another big revelation of the book is that Robert Kraft has wanted to dump Belichick in favour of a new coach for some time now. If that had happened as discussed, Tom Brady might have stayed with the team.

9 Medals, Six Gold, For Israeli Athletes At Tokyo Paralympics
The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games were held in Tokyo just after the main Olympic Games. And they brought in a lot of gold for Israel. Israeli athletes amassed nine medals at the games, six of which were gold.

Swimmer Ami Dadaon has three of Israel’s gold medals. Dadon took gold in the 50-freestyle relay and while finishing in 37.21 seconds and setting a new Paralympic record.

Iyad Shalabi, an Israeli Arab, won two gold medals in swimming. His second came in the men’s 50-meter backstroke which he won with a time of 1:11.79.

Robert Sarver Denies Racism Claims
In October, Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA team, got in a lot of hot water over allegations of racism and sexism. Sarver denied the accusations ahead of their being revealed in a report from ESPN.

NBA analyst Jordan Schultz released a preview of his upcoming report on what he described as a massive story accusing Suns owner Robert Sarver of racism, sexism and sexual harassment in a series of incidents. He attributed the reports to “sources” and said that there is enough evidence to support the claims adding, “There’s a real chance the league would forcibly remove Sarver.”

“This story is completely outrageous and false,” Suns CEO and President Jason Rowley responded in a statement released by the basketball team. “It doesn’t represent – at all – the Robert Sarver I’ve worked alongside of for 15 years. He’s not a racist and he’s not a sexist.”