Omri Casspi had long dreamed of a visit to the White House. He just did not expect it, yet.
Casspi had imagined himself making the trip as part of a championship team, and still has that dream, but if he goes with his team, he will know the way around.
As a high-profile Israeli living in the United States, Casspi had been invited to the White House to meet President Obama and participate in a menorah lighting ceremony next Thursday. Casspi, who follows politics and government news avidly, said he was thrilled to officially receive the invitation late Tuesday and began making arrangements Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m so excited,” Casspi said. “A dream come true to be invited to the White House. I always thought it would be as part of a championship-winning team, but this is great.
“They kind of reached out to me about a week and a half ago. They told me they want to invite me to the Chanukkah event they have. I was just waiting for the formal invitation. I will represent Israel and the Jewish community.”
He won’t be going alone. Casspi’s mother, Ilana, had already scheduled for her annual Chanukkah trip to see her son, celebrate the holiday and cook some latkes and other delicacies when he mentioned that he wanted to add a little side trip while she was here.
“I can bring a guest,” Casspi said. “Obviously, if I go, I’m going to bring my mom.
“Everybody back at home is excited to have a basketball player in the States and to meet Obama is something. Everybody’s excited. That was the dream, to be in the White House after winning the championship. Next time, I’ll be familiar.”