Over the weekend, Meir Tapiro, a well known Israeli point guard decided to call it quits at the age of 41 after spending twenty-one of his twenty-two-year career close to home.
The Kiryat Ata native captured the Israeli State Cup, the Israeli League MVP, Finals MVP, MVP of the decade and even earned a tryout with the Miami Heat during his fantastic playing career.
But, what gives Tapiro a passage into European basketball folklore is that he does have his name permanently scribbled in the Israeli basketball history books for becoming the first player to get a triple-double in the country by recording 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists playing for Maccabi Haifa in 1999.
But Tapiro, who bounced around several teams in Israel didn’t stop there.
Four years later, Tapiro recorded the first triple-double for an Israeli club in continental competition as he helped Hapoel Jerusalem to a 118-95 win over Ukrainian side BC Odessa in the now defunct FIBA Eurocup Challenge competition.
(At 36-years-old, Tapiro was still getting it done in 2010)
After ten years in Israel, playing for a total of five different clubs, Tapiro decided to test foreign waters and head to France where he signed for Nancy in the 2004-05 season. It would only last a season before Tapiro’s returned home and back to Hapoel Jerusalem, where he would go on to lift his only trophy, the Israeli State Cup.
Domestically, Tapiro ended his career with his hometown side Maccabi Kiryat Gat, who were still still relatively new to the basketball scene having been founded in 2003.
Tapir played for thirteen sides over his twenty-two-year career, recording six triple-doubles along the way.
Tapiro was also a constant regular for Israel, appearing for the national side in five straight Eurobaskets from 1999-2007, until stunning the nation by announcing his international retirement before the 2009 tournament in Poland.