For the second time in as many years, the Houston Rockets NBA basketball team got in on the Hanukkah spirit in its own way.
In a Comcast Sportsnet Houston video, members of the team struggle through the song “I have a little dreidel,” with some players adding their own flair to the classic ditty.
With forward Omri Casspi, the NBA’s first Israeli player, on the team, the Rockets could be expected to have pulled the song off a little more smoothly. But the end result, while undeniably endearing, is a far cry from the traditional version Jewish kids grow up with.
Star center Dwight Howard and power forward Terrence Jones went all out, throwing in some beats and generally having fun with the song.
Aaron Brooks added the theme song to the Animaniacs cartoon. “Isn’t this a Jewish thing?” asked Chandler Parsons. “Omri is probably money.”
Except he wasn’t. Casspi needed to read the words off a song sheet.
Lithuanian center Donatas Motiejunas was entirely unfamiliar with the song, which might be expected has he not sung the song passably in 2012. “I have no idea,” he said helplessly. “Can I get a paper?” Teammate Patrick Beverly stuck faithfully to the words, putting in a recognizable version of the song.
Last year’s version, sans Casspi, wasn’t much better.