The Charlotte Hornets of the NBA on Thursday drafted guard Amari Bailey, who is Jewish and identifies as such, with the 41st overall selection of the NBA draft.
19-year-old Bailey’s Jewish heritage comes from his mother, an influencer who goes by the name of Johanna Leia and whose real surname is Edelberg, according to JTA. Bailey’s father is former NFL wide receiver Aaron Bailey.
Bailey’s agent, Bernie Lee, confirmed to The Forward earlier this week that Bailey identifies as Jewish.
“Amari is Jewish and does identify as Jewish,” Lee said in a message, without elaborating.
After a standout career at Sierra Canyon, Bailey committed to UCLA as one of the top prospects in the country. He made the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team and declared for the draft after his freshman year.
Currently, the only other Jewish player in the NBA is Deni Avdija of the Washington Wizards, who was drafted, who 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.
Former Yeshiva University standout Ryan Turell, who went undrafted during last year’s NBA draft, was later drafted 27th overall by the Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons’ affiliate in the G League, which is the NBA’s minor league organization. Turell seeks to be the first Orthodox Jew in the NBA.
Meanwhile, Bailey’s new team, the Hornets, is in the process of being sold by basketball legend Michael Jordan to a group led by Jewish millionaires Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)