Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Vasquez Turns Down Contract in Israel, Stays Home to Help Community in Venezuela

If you follow the news on American players heading to Europe to play basketball during the NBA lockout, you may have seen conflicting reports in the past few days about former Terp and current Memphis Grizzlies player Greivis Vasquez (2006-10). Two teams from Israel were vying for his services, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem. In fact, Hapoel Jerusalem, where DJ Strawberry will be playing this season, believed it had reached a financial agreement through Vasquez's agent. Slight problem: the guy "representing" Grevis was a friend of his, not his actual agent. Vasquez was contacted by to get the whole story set straight:
'I recently finished playing intense basketball for a few good months with the Venezuelan national team and was looking to do something other than basketball. I gave Israel a huge thought and talked to people who spoke highly of the place, however, the situation in my country isn't easy and once the opportunity of giving back to the community and working with kids during the NBA lockout came up, I couldnt say no.'

The 24-year-old Terrapins' second all-time leading scorer is undoubtedly recognized as Venezuela's biggest, most hyped athlete, knowing that along with glory and fame come great resposibilitis. 'I've decided not to play basketball abroad during the lockout so that I could run a social community basketball project. It has nothing to do with politics despite being sponsored by the private companies and the government. It's not a done deal yet, but the details of this new journey include going on tour to every city in Venezuela holding a basketball clinic for kids,' said Vasquez.
One of Vasquez's projects during the lockout is blogging for ESPNdeportes. In his first blog entry, he describes the work he's undertaking (translation) in his home country, putting on youth basketball clinics around Venezuela and raising support for better sports facilities for the nation. A public/private partnership is paying for the campaign.

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