David Blatt is an Israeli-American basketball veteran professional basketball coach, executive, and former player. Born in Boston, he studied at Princeton University, where he was point guard and captain of the school’s basketball team. In 1981, Blatt played in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, and shortly after his graduation from Princeton made Aliyah. He played professional basketball in Israel—for Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Jerusalem, and others—until he was forced to retire in 1993 due to an injury.
Blatt then launched his coaching career, first as an assistant manager and later head coach for Hapoel Galil Elyon. In 1999, he moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv as assistant coach to Pini Gershon, and helped establish a winning coaching team that won Maccabi EuroLeague and SuproLeague titles, along with many other accomplishments. In 2002, Blatt was appointed head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, but returned to his position as assistant coach in the 2003/04 season, during which his team won another EuroLeague title, as well as a local championship and the Israeli cup.
In 2004, David Blatt left Maccabi Tel Aviv to coach basketball in Europe. During the next six years, he coached elite clubs in Russia, Italy, and Turkey, leading his teams to substantial achievements. He also coached the Russia men’s national basketball team between 2007 and 2012 and led it to win the EuroBasket 2007 and a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Blatt returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2010, and led the team to win another EuroLeague title in 2014. He was named EuroLeague Coach of the Year for the 2013-2014 season.
In June 2014, Blatt was hired as head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Over that season, the Cavaliers led the Central Division of the NBA with a 53–29 record; the team also won the Eastern Conference title (their first since 2007) and advanced to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the series. David Blatt was let go from the Cavaliers in January 2016, despite the team’s 30-11 record and being first in their conference.
Later that year, he returned to European basketball, signing on as head coach for the Turkish team Darüşşafaka, which he led to win the 2018 EuroCup Championship. In June 2018, Blatt was named the head coach of Greek mega-team Olympiacos, but parted ways with the basketball club after one season. In December 2019, he announced his retirement from coaching after the New York Knicks hired him as a consultant. In May 2020, through the Israeli company True Player Group (partly owned by the Blatt family), David Blatt became co-owner of Czech basketball team BC Brno.
David Blatt is married to Kineret, a former women’s basketball player. Together, they have four children, one of whom, Tamir, plays professional basketball for Hapoel Jerusalem and the Israel national team.