Commentator thinks David Blatt is lying about controversial Greek League game because 'he has Jewish blood'

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A Greek basketball commentator believes former NBA coach and current Olympiakos coach David Blatt was lying about the circumstances of a Greek League game because "he has Jewish blood." (AP/Petros Giannakouris)
A Greek basketball commentator believes former NBA coach and current Olympiakos coach David Blatt was lying about the circumstances of a Greek League game because "he has Jewish blood." (AP/Petros Giannakouris)

One Greek basketball commentator accused former NBA coach and current Olympiakos coach David Blatt of lying because “he has Jewish blood” last week.

Blatt and Olympiakos walked out at halftime of their Greek Cup semifinal matchup against rival Panathinaikos in February, blaming poor officiating. Panathinaikos is led by longtime NBA coach and former Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

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Last week, more than one month after that game, Panathinaikos commentator Vangelis Alexandris accused Blatt — who was born in Massachusetts but has dual citizenship with Israel, and has held numerous professional coaching jobs in that country — of lying about the circumstances of that game.

“If you consider that he has Jewish blood, I believe he was lying,” Alexandris said in a story from a Greek sports websiteaccording to the Associated Press.

The comments were condemned by World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer on Thursday, who said they “recall the darkest days in history and the oldest tropes in the book.”

“Sport has the ability to bring people of all backgrounds together, but, lately we have seen many unfortunate expressions of hate and division. This must end at once,” Singer said in a statement. “The World Jewish Congress has made a concerted effort in recent months to address manifestations of anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia in the sporting world. We call on Greek clubs to join us in eradicating these phenomena.”

Blatt coached LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-16 and helped lead them to the NBA Finals in 2015, where they fell to the Golden State Warriors. He took over at Olympiakos in the Greek League last June.

Olympiakos was assessed a six-point league penalty on Friday for forfeiting the game against Panathinaikos.

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