CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A professional basketball player from Philadelphia who escaped the war in Israel is making every second count, despite the timeout on the court.
to the community and share his story.
Armstrong plays professional basketball in Israel and says he was there during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 and was forced to find refuge near Tel Aviv.
“For me, it was life or death. If IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces weren’t there, I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Armstrong said. “It was a life-changing experience and I didn’t know if I was going to make it back.”
And now that he is back safe in the United States, he wants to give back. Armstrong ran drills inside the gymnasium at the Politz Day School in Cherry Hill on Sunday, where he hopes to connect and share his story.
“Basketball teaches a lot of life lessons, whether good or bad, and you are able to transfer that into your life going forward,” Armstrong said.
“Our kids are struggling. They have family in Israel and we’re anxious. We, as Jews, and parents are concerned for their relatives. The kids are concerned and to have someone who is there and part of it and can talk about it and his experiences. It helps kids process,” Chaim Greenwald, the head of Politz, said.
“This society should not be living with hate. We should be living with humanity, with each other to being the best out of everyone,” David Levy said.
Armstrong said he hopes the young athletes feel comfortable opening up to him and also hopes his story will encourage them.
“I am just here to inspire them through basketball to show to stay strong, stay together and as one community we are powerful,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong’s league is on pause right now. He is still trying to figure out how he will move forward, but in the meantime, he is using this time to teach through public speaking and even more basketball camps.