T.J. Leaf playing for the Pacers in 2018.

Israeli-American T.J. Leaf became the first Israeli to play in the NBA playoffs on Sunday, when the Indiana Pacers put him on the court for the last three minutes of play in a winning game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While not Jewish, Leaf was born in Israel and has dual citizenship. The 21-year-old scored a career high of 17 points on Oct. 20, but has not been given much time on the court since then.

The power forward rookie was selected as 18th overall pick in the first round of the NBA draft last June by the Pacers and left UCLA to pursue the opportunity after just a year in college.

Leaf’s father, Brad Leaf, played for Israel’s Maccabi and Galil Elyon basketball teams, once winning the league Most Valuable Player award.


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