Reached at his family home in Yavne, Israel, a few minutes ago, Kings forward Omri Casspi said he was "hurt" upon learning that a mural featuring his likeness was defaced with a swastika. The incident at 16th and R Street in midtown is being investigated as a possible hate crime by the local authorities.
"It's been all over the news over here," said Casspi. "Everybody's talking about it. It's hurtful to think that this is 2010, and there are still people like that out there. I almost don't know what to say. It's probably just some idiot who wants some publicity. But I know the people in Sacramento, and they have been wonderful to me. I know they must feel bad about this. Same thing with the Kings. I'll just let the police handle this and focus on having a great season."
Casspi, who is the first Israeli to play in the NBA, returns to Sacramento on Monday to begin preparing for his second training camp. He spent part of last week participating in a basketball camp designed to foster friendships among Israeli and Palestinian youngsters. The event at the Jewish-Arab community center in Jaffa was sponsored by the Peres Center for Peace, in conjunction with the NBA.