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For an Israeli Chicago Bulls’ fan slain on Oct. 7, a final gift from that team’s star forward

DeMar DeRozan signed a jersey in memory of Oron Beilin, who was murdered at the rave near kibbutz Re’im
Photo by Yoav Modai
DeMar DeRozan displays the jersey he signed at Madison Square Garden.

This story was originally published in the Forward. Click here to get the Forward’s free email newsletters delivered to your inbox.

Chicago Bulls’ forward DeMar DeRozan honored the memory of an Israeli basketball fan murdered at the rave near kibbutz Re’im on Oct. 7 by signing a specially-made jersey that will be framed and sent to the mother of the slain Israeli.

The Bulls player was approached by Yoav Modai, a friend of Oron Beilin, a 24-year-old Bulls fan who was among the dead at the rave. Modai covers the NBA for Israel’s Sport 5 network and has played hoops with Beilin for the last eight years in Tel Aviv.

Modai said that before the game against the Knicks, he showed DeRozan a photo of Beilin and talked about his murdered friend.

In a tweet accompanying a photo of DeRozan holding the jersey at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Modai wrote that he approached the athlete because his style of play was similar to Beilin’s. DeRozan led the NBA in mid-range points during the last two seasons and is leading in that category this season as well. Modai told DeRozan that he used to call his friend “the Mid-Range Assassin” because, like DeRozan, he “never missed from mid-range.”

DeRozan autographed the jersey and wrote “Thank you” on it.

The sports reporter and Beilin’s other friends, who played basketball with Beilin every week at Sportek in Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon. will also sign the jersey. Modai’s tweet mentioned that the last time they played, he and Beilin were on the same team and that Beilin scored the winning basket.

Beilin had a poster of the Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan above his bed, and dressed up as Jordan for Purim, donning a Bulls jersey with Jordan’s number 23. The jersey made for Beilin’s mother has an infinity sign instead of a number.

Beilin had planned to come to the U.S. to attend an NBA game with Modai, who lives with an uncle in Manhattan during the NBA season when he covers the league for Sport 5.

Modai told me that Beilin’s family didn’t receive confirmation that Beilin had been killed at the rave until a week after the Oct. 7 attacks. “It got to the point where I personally started to pray that he was kidnapped but then they started releasing the names of the hostages and he wasn’t one of them” he said. “When I heard the news, it was difficult to be here on the other side of the world without any of my friends.”

Beilin was an only child and Modai said Beilin’s mother, Rina, was a single mom. According to one published report, Beilin was the grandson of Dr. Aharon Beilin, a Holocaust survivor who testified at Adolf Eichmann’s trial.

Since Oct. 7, Modai says he has been trying to get NBA players to speak out on behalf of Israel. He interviewed Jonathan Issac of the Orlando Magic for Sport5. Issac not only declared that he stands with the Israeli people but condemned what he called antisemitism on American college campuses.

Modai added that when he gets to do deeper interviews with NBA players he makes a point of bringing up the war with Hamas and says several of them have expressed solidarity with Israel.

“I hope in the next couple of months I can reach out to more and more NBA players and make sure they know the truth and speak out the truth and help us win this other war to make sure people know what’s happening,” Modai said.




This article was originally published on the Forward.

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