Deni Avdija
Deni Avdija Reuters

Israeli basketball player Deni Avdjia, who plays for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA), showed solidarity with Israel during Washington’s game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

Avdija wrote the words "Am Yisrael Chai" in Hebrew and also painted a Star of David on his shoes.

The 2020 Israeli League MVP promised after his team’s game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night that he would show solidarity for his country in the next game.

"My heart is with Israel. I am very sad to hear about what is happening in Israel. There are things that are bigger than basketball and with how much I try to represent us in the NBA, it is difficult for me. My friends and family in Israel, I watch the news almost every day, I watch Israeli TV. My heart goes out to the families and to the people of Israel, let's hope it ends as soon as possible. I will not get into politics, but I am sending a hug and love. It's hard to watch," Avdija told reporters.

Avdija was selected 9th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2020 NBA draft, making him the first Israeli to be drafted in the top ten in NBA history.

His first NBA season ended prematurely when he had to be wheeled off the court following a bad ankle injury last April. This season, however, Avdija has appeared in every game that the Wizards have played.

The Wizards came into Wednesday’s action with a 32-43 record and are unlikely to make the postseason, but Avdija has shown improvement in recent games as he has gotten more playing time with key Wizards players out for the season due to injury.