The Shmooze

Sports Illustrated Lists Greatest Jewish Athletes

By Nathan Burstein

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Dara Torres is among Sports Illustrated’s List of ‘Prominent Jewish Athletes.’

Jews aren’t exactly famous for their athletic prowess — the punch line of many a joke, including this classic from “Airplane!”

But in honor of Hanukkah, Sports Illustrated is generously celebrating “prominent Jewish athletes,” compiling an online compendium of top Jewish sports stars from over the past 70 years.

A list rather than a ranking, the collection focuses primarily on professional athletes, ranging from baseball players Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax to NFL great Sid Luckman. There’s also hockey goalie Marty Turco, billed as the “smartest goalie in the NHL,” and tattooed, Ukrainian-born NFL player Igor Olshansky. Several Olympic champions are also in the mix, including swimmer Dara Torres and two Jewish gold medalists once featured on the SI cover: swimmer Mark Spitz and ice skater Sarah Hughes.

Largely focused on American Jews, the list also includes two Israelis: NBA player Omri Casspi and soccer star Yossi Benayoun.


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