Tamir Blatt has arrived at Alba Berlin
After a difficult start, Tamir Blatt is becoming increasingly important for Alba Berlin. His father and his tips are not entirely uninvolved in this.
Berlin. On Sunday, an hour and a half before Alba Berlin’s performance against Heidelberg Academics (15.00, Magentasport), Tamir Blatt speaks on the phone. As always before basketball games. Like every other day. His father, David Blatt, is at the other end of the line. Often it is about the sport that both love so much. “He gives me tips, it helps me a lot,” says the young man. Of course, it’s also about his new life in Berlin, in a foreign city, in a foreign country.
Alba Berlin is the ideal club for Tamir Blatt
Tamir Blatt (24) is under contract outside his home country Israel for the first time. Before that, he wore the Hapoel Jerusalem shirt for three years. In Berlin, he has signed until 2023. A decision he has not regretted. “Alba gives me the feeling of being at home,” he says, “Berlin is the best city for me to continue my career abroad.” Some things went like a dream for him: the first match in the Euroleague against the great FC Barcelona, the cup victory, now the winning streak in the Bundesliga.
But it was not always easy. Leaf had to adapt. The new place, the different basketball game in his new club, the role of the team. “The way we play, it takes time to get used to it,” explains CEO Marco Baldi, “especially for the playmakers. They are supposed to provide information, but they must first find their own way.” It was hard for Blatt at first, some critics rejected it: This is a size too big for the boy.
Meanwhile, Tamir Blatt’s shot often lands on goal
Rated prematurely. The Israeli has settled down. “He is here!” says Baldi, “Tamir is bursting with enthusiasm. That’s exactly what we want: imaginative play, the ability to always find your own solution to the situation. It works very well with him.” Most recently, Blatt scored in double figures in almost every match – a sign of his ever-improving integration. It’s good for him, he’s clearer, happier and smiles more often. This is what it looks like when a burden is lifted from someone’s shoulders.
Oscar da Silva says: “I like playing with Tamir because he has a lot of feelings for the other players.” Alley-ups that viewers love to watch? When Silva nods: “He throws the balls in the right position for me so I only have to knock.”
At the same time, the Leafs’ threes increasingly end up in the opponent’s basket. In the last ten Bundesliga matches, almost every other shot was a hit. Because the knowledge of his creativity in passing has come around, his opponents are no longer quite as close to his feet and also try to keep an eye on his passing paths. He uses this space to score himself.
Tamir Blatt has not yet felt any anti-Semitism in Berlin
He spends his meager free time exploring the city. His mother comes to visit very often. Then they look at the Brandenburg Gate, museums, Jewish institutions and memorial sites. He followed the demonstrations against Israel here last weekend with nauseating feelings. Even he has not had any negative experiences so far, felt anti-Semitism. “Berlin is amazing. Everyone treats everyone equally, regardless of race or religion.”
Although he is still finding his way here, the daily conversations with his father are important to him. David Blatt is a coaching legend, one who has achieved in very different places. As national coach of Russia, he became European champion in 2007, third at the 2012 Olympics in London and third again at the European Championships. Blatt senior won the Euroleague with Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2012. He then moved to the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was fired his second year for not getting along with superstar LeBron James. By the end of that season, the Cavs were NBA champions.
David Blatt would probably still be working as a coach if sclerosis had not stopped him. So he now has plenty of time to talk to his son. May I ask what he said before the recent win against Hamburg Towers? How does he best defend his opponents? Tamir Blatt smiles: “He said I should stay confident, have fun and enjoy basketball with my teammates.” The secrets behind success can be so simple.
Read more about Alba Berlin here.