Omri Casspi, who was dropped by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors on Sunday due to injuries, had been invited to light a torch at Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations but was forced to refuse because his team would not release him for the event.
Casspi was waived by Golden State on the same day that the names of the torch-lighters were announced, too late for him to take back his refusal, Hebrew media reported Monday.
Casspi has been sidelined due to an ankle injury, and Golden State needed to clear a spot in order to make room for Quinn Cook to be on the playoff roster. Casspi won’t be able to join another team until the end of the season due to NBA rules.
Another prospective honoree who was unable to light a torch due to work commitments was “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik, because her invitation was issued too late.
Bialik, who was also mentioned last year as a candidate for the Jewish People torch, had even publicly expressed her wish to be nominated and asked her Facebook fans to help.
On Sunday the Committee for Symbols and Ceremonies headed by Regev announced the names of those who will light the 12 torches as the highlight of the annual ceremony, held at nightfall on the eve of Independence Day, alongside parades, dancing, music and fireworks.
They are people who are seen to have made an outstanding contribution to society.