The Charlotte Hornets announced on Friday that they had signed guard Amari Bailey, the 41st overall pick in last month’s NBA draft, to a two-way contract.
Bailey, 19, is Jewish and identifies as such, his agent confirmed after the draft.
Bailey’s Jewish heritage comes from his mother, an influencer who goes by the name of Johanna Leia and whose real surname is Edelberg. His father is former NFL wide receiver Aaron Bailey.
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.
Bailey’s two-way contract will pay him just shy of $560K and will allow him to be active for up to 50 regular season games with the Hornets. Hoops Trade Rumors noted that Bailey will likely see plenty of action with the Greensboro Swarm, Charlotte’s G League affiliate.
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.
The Hornets meanwhile, are 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.)