As far back as Gal Mekel can remember, he was always a basketball junkie.

“Basketball was my first love,” said Mekel, who was born and raised in Israel. “I started [playing] when I was 5 on the court right next to my house, and I started with a serious team when I was 6 of 7.

“When you grow up you have posters of Michael Jordan and everybody on your wall. It’s a dream of everybody.”

And it’s a dream for Mekel, a 25-year-old free-agent point guard who signed a three-year, $2.3 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month.

When the regular season starts, Mekel will join Houston’s Omri Casspi as the only players from Israel to play in the NBA.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram