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Toronto Raptors Jewish co-owner says team will visit Israel if it wins NBA championship

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Kawhi Leonard shooting a free throw at Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals (Wikimedia Commons photo - Chensiyuan - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

The Toronto Raptors are one win away from the NBA championship — and a free trip to Israel.

The team’s Jewish billionaire co-owner, Larry Tanenbaum, said he will bring the club to visit if they win the title.

The Raptors are up three games to two in the best-of-seven finals over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. But the Canadian squad could not seal the deal at home in game 5 on Tuesday, losing by a point, and must win either at Golden State on Thursday in Oakland or at home in the decider to take the basketball crown.

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Israel’s Sport 5 reported last week that during a low-key visit to Israel in April, Tanenbaum told several people he met in the Jewish state that “If we win the NBA championship, I will come with the Toronto Raptors to visit the Holy Land.”

Tanenbaum is active and philanthropic in the local Jewish community and was a founder of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

He is the chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., which is the parent company of the Raptors as well as the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC, and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. He also currently serves as the board chairman of the NBA, and as a member of the board of governors of the NHL and Major League Soccer.

He made his fortune in construction and investments, and serves as CEO of the Toronto-based Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Ltd., a civil engineering construction company. His net worth is estimated at about $1.53 billion.

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