A 19-year-old Israeli basketball player who was drafted to the National Basketball League in the first round, landed in the United States to officially sign his contract with the Washington Wizards.
“The NBA is the best league in the world, with all the best players, and it’s really unique and special,” said Deni Avdija. “I am fired up and excited to play in the best league in the world, to bring my talent over here and to try to make the team better as best I can. I can’t wait, and hopefully, we’re going to do great things together.”
He talked about his move to a new country.
“It’s been emotional, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “I left a lot of friends and family that I love, for a long time. But I know they are all proud of me, and they want my success, and they’re all behind me.”
Though a handful of Israelis have played in the NBA, Avdija now has the distention of being the highest draft pick. He was famous in Israel where everyone knew the young sensation as a player for Maccabi.
Since moving to the United States this weekend, reality settled in.
“I grew up in an environment that was comfortable for me,” he continued. “I was at home with my friends, speaking the language, and everybody knows you because you’re a Maccabi player. Since the plane took off, I left everybody home and I understood that I started a new beginning, a new career and I don’t know any people. So for me, it was hard. It’s like starting over again. But I’m a tough kid. I’ve been through a lot.”