Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Josh Steinberg wins gold with Team USA in Argentina

Photo from Maccabi USA
Josh Steinberg proudly represents USA as he celebrates his win.

Over the holiday break, junior Josh Steinberg won gold with Team USA for the 3-on-3 competition of the Maccabi Pan-American games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to the Maccabi USA mission statement, “Maccabi USA builds Jewish pride through sports and promotes support for Israel, Zionism, and Jewish continuity through athletic, educational, and cultural experiences for participants of all ages.”  Steinberg talked with Chimes about his experience and why playing in the games meant so much to him.    

The tryout process

Selection for the games involved a try-out process. Steinberg had to submit game film, a coach’s recommendation and meet with coaches in order to be selected. “It was kinda surreal when I got the call,” Steinberg said. “The coach said ‘We’d be happy to have you on Team USA’ …I did a little happy dance, I ran around my apartment, it was really cool.”

The selection also meant a lot to Steinberg because it came on the heels of his grandfather’s passing. “We were really close…Going into the games –– it felt like an opportunity to play for him.” 

Getting ready to compete

After the 2023 basketball season, Steinberg had stopped playing basketball at Calvin. But halfway through the summer of 2023, he found out that he was selected for the Maccabi Pan-American games. “Once I found out, I created a plan to stay in shape,” Steinberg said.  

Steinberg spent the rest of the summer playing basketball, lifting and conditioning. During the holiday break, Steinberg met with a trainer every day to continue to sharpen his skills. Steinberg notes that the basketball used in the Maccabi Pan-American games is different from the standard American men’s basketball: “It’s a women’s size ball with a men’s weight…it was a little weird.” Steinberg said he and his trainer worked specifically on adapting to the smaller ball and the 3-on-3 style of play. 

Connecting with the team

Steinberg didn’t meet any of his teammates in person until the flight to Buenos Aires. “We had Zoom calls during the summer just to get a sense of each other, but we couldn’t meet in person because some of the guys were on the East Coast and some were on the West Coast,” Steinberg explained. “Luckily, one of the other guys on my team is from the LA area…so we were on the same flight from LA to Argentina, so we got to interact from that travel experience, which started to help.” 

It meant a lot to have USA on my chest.

Team USA didn’t practice together until a few days before the games, according to Steinberg. “We had two days of practice once we physically got [to Argentina] which built chemistry athletically,” Steinberg said. To build chemistry as teammates, Steinberg told Chimes that the team spent time together living in their hotel, during meals and exploring the city of Buenos Aires. 

Although this competition wasn’t the official Olympics, Steinberg still felt the weight of representing the country “It is an international competition; we do get to represent the country. It definitely was the most patriotic I’ve felt. It meant a lot to have USA on my chest.”


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