Interview: The Greatest Female Israeli Basketball Player of All-Time – Shay Doron

Across all sports there are debates of who the best is or was. Willie Mays or Babe Ruth? But there are a few athletes in their category or sport that end debates. Michael Jordan. Tom Brady. Wayne Gretzky. Shay Doron. Doron is without question the greatest Israeli Female basketball player of all-time. She did it at the highest level and won everywhere she went. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with the legend herself. Go Terps?


1)Tell TGR readers about yourself?

My name is Shay Doron, I grew up mostly in the US (NY), and I have been playing professional basketball for the last 19 years. I was the first Israeli to play in the WNBA or NBA, the first to win a college national championship (2006 with Univ. of MD), and the first to win a Eurocup title. I have played all over the world in countries such as Turkey, Russia, and Romania.

2) How did you get recruited to play at Maryland?

To be honest, Maryland was not on my list of schools, but they were the school sending the most mail (real mail back then :), and we went to play an AAU tournament in Virginia and my mom convinced me to go meet the coaching staff. I reluctantly agreed to go and the connection was immediate. The drive and energy of coach Brenda and her staff were addicting and the rest is history.

3) You went on to be a star at Maryland including First Team All ACC. What was that experience like?

To be honest, these were things that never pushed me, I love basketball because it is a team sport and I always pushed myself to be the best version of me to make the team better. Of course, personal accolades are nice, but hands down winning championships is what was on my mind for each of my 19 professional seasons.

4) With no hesitation, you are the greatest Israeli female basketball player of all time. Outside of Naama Shafir and yourself, why has Israeli women’s basketball not seen more top-level collegiate athletes?

I think the best is always a matter of Era, each Era has its own top players. With that being said, I am very proud of my accomplishments especially being the first to achieve certain things makes things even sweeter. I think the move to the US is a scary one and I was lucky enough to go with my parents who sacrificed everything for my dreams. It is definitely not the correct move for everyone. I also think girls today have more opportunity to be seen with the borderless world we now live in (back then I didn’t even have an email address, I know I sound old but it was not a tech world back then).

5) You were the first and only Israeli woman drafted into the WNBA. What was that experience like?

It was such an amazing experience and feeling of accomplishment. I had set this goal at the age of 13, so to see it come to life with my family there by my side was one of the best moments of my life.

6) You played briefly for the New York Liberty but then headed overseas. Why did you make that decision?

For the women, we make most of our money overseas so it made more sense for me to focus my career overseas, unfortunately. The topic of equal pay is a huge movement now in the USA and there is no one more behind it that the women’s basketball players. In addition, the physical punishment the body takes by playing year-round is truly insane. I am sure I would not have been able to play this long and stay healthy had I have continued to play year round.

7) What are you doing these days?

I am currently working at Hype Sports and in addition I am getting my masters in business.

8) Tell us more about HYPE and why you are so passionate about it?

HYPE Sports Innovation is a platform designed to fund and foster sports startups through a targeted accelerator network and investment model. Over the past 4 years, Hype built the largest global platform for the growth of sports startups built on the foundation of scouting and developing the best sports startups and since has excelled in this aspect.

We recently added HYPE Capital, to add investments to our arsenal, and are currently raising a $75 million fund to that effect. Here’s a recent article I like to share

9) Where can readers follow you on social media or see what you are doing next?

Most of my Social media is for close friends and family I do have a facebook page Shay Doron #8 where I share to the world. 



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