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Elie Mechantaf (in Arabic إيلي مشنتف born in Beirut, Lebanon on October 5, 1970) is a retired Lebanese professional basketball player regarded as one of the greatest in asia . He started his basketball career in the Cypriot Basketball League, before becoming the captain of the Lebanese Hekmeh BC (Sagesse) basketball club, a leading club of the Lebanese Basketball League and a major key for its golden era for more than ten years, winning the Lebanese Championship for 6 consecutive seasons from 1998 to 2004. Mechantaf was also the team captain of the Lebanon National Basketball Team from 2000 to 2006, also taking part in the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis. He retired in 2008
Now mchantaf is encouraging basketball in lebanon through founding his own official club m13 (mchantaf # 13 ).
Mechantaf was born in Abra (East Saida), the son of Rafiq and Samia Mechantaf. He studied in the South in Saidoun High School, then moved to Beirut and later to Italy where he lived a whole year.
Back in Beirut, he studied at College CIT for 2 years. Then he joined Notre Dame University – Louaize (NDU) for one semester, after which he went to Cyprus playing basketball professionally, starting with EPA Larnaca, Cyprus, in second division, alongside another Lebanese player, Fouad Abou Chacra. He also studied Business Administration at Intercollege Cyprus.
After graduation, he returned to Lebanon and became a player in Amal Bikfaya (in Arabic العمل بكفيا) in 1993. In 1994 he became the captain of Hekmeh BC (also known as Sagesse) (in Arabic نادي الحكمة) dominating the Lebanese Basketball League winning FIBA Asia club championships, where he became hugely popular. His pan-Arab fame came when Sagesse/Hekmeh won the PAN-Arabia Club Championship.
He is regarded as one of the greatest asian players, he also had NBA trials and training with some teams like the Orlando Magic where he went there with the recommendation of NBA legend Rony Seikaly , they were also both reunited on the Sagesse Beirut roster for the 1999 FIBA Asia Champions Cup
The FLB (Federation Libanaise de Basketball) formed the Lebanese National Basketball Team, where Mechantaf started as the captain of the national side. Mechantaf took part in the 2002 Basketball World Cup in Indianapolis. He was excluded from the national team in 2006 World Championship in Japan due to alleged doping.
Records and accolades (All with Sagesse Beirut )
- 1999 McDonald's World Championship 3rd best scorer and assister
- 1996-2002 Lebanese Basketball Championship MVP (most valuable player)
- 2000-2003 Lebanon Cup MIP (most improved player)
- 1996, 1998, 2000 Best Arab Player
- 1999, 2001 FIBA Asian Cup Championship MVP (most valuable player)
- 1999 Asian MIP (most improved player)
- 2000 Best player in Asia
- 1999, 2001 Best Asian Player