Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C.

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Hapoel Tel Aviv
Hapoel Tel Aviv logo
Leagues Israeli Premier League
Founded 1935
Arena Kvuzat Shlomo Arena
Arena Capacity 3,504[1]
Location Tel Aviv, Israel
Team colors Red and White
CEO Arye Mendel
President Rami Cohen
Head coach Danny Franco
Ownership Hapoel Ussishkin
Supporters trust
Championships 5 Israeli Championships
4 Israeli State Cups
Website http://www.hapoeluta.com

Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C. (Hebrew: הפועל תל אביב‎) is an Israeli professional basketball club. Historically the second most successful side in Israeli basketball with five national championships, the club is owned by Hapoel Tel Aviv Supporters Trust. The team currently plays in the Israeli Premier League, the first tier.[2]


The club was founded in 1935, as part of the Tel Aviv branch of the "Hapoel" sports cooperative, the sports department of the Histadrut labor union. The 15 years following the foundation of the Israeli national league in 1954 are still considered as the golden age in the club's history. During that time, it won most of its trophies and rose to become a dominant force in Israeli basketball. However, since then the club has failed to repeat its past success and has been forced to watch as its bitter city rival, Maccabi Tel Aviv, beat them constantly on the race to trophies and European glory.

In 1980 the club inaugurated its home venue of Hapoel Arena at Ussishkin St. in place of the open court that Hapoel had used for home games since 1953. The new arena was named after the adjacent street bearing the name of Menachem Ussishkin, a famous Histadrut leader. The uncomfortable conditions, along with the fact that Hapoel Tel Aviv's fans are considered amongst the most fanatic in Israeli sports, has contributed to the fact Ussishkin was known for an extremely hostile atmosphere for visiting teams.

In 1995 the Histadrut decided to suspend financial support of all its "Hapoel" sports teams, including Hapoel Tel Aviv. The club was sold to a group of private businessmen and from 1998 until 2009 (with a short pause for the 2003-04 season), it was under the ownership of Shaul Eizenberg, an Israeli businessman and former press officer of the Israel Football Association. Except for three years of financial support by Russian multi millionaire Vladimir Gusinsky, the club has since consistently suffered from financial difficulties, mainly due to poor management. The result of this was an immediate deterioration in the club's status and stability, which led to relegation to the second league in 1996-97, 1998–99 and 2005-06. During this period the club also conceded its most humiliating defeat of all times by the hands of no less than local rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv by a staggering 54 points. This was part of a previously unthinkable streak of nine defeats in one season to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

In 2006 Eizenberg decided to stop funding the team and thus the team started the season in the second division. The situation wasn't improved in the coming season, in which the team, built almost entirely of youth players, was relegated to the third division, winning only two games all season.

Local rivalries[edit]

For years Hapoel and Maccabi Tel Aviv were considered the top two clubs of Israeli basketball. The Local derby matches between the two teams were always considered to be the most prestigious games in Israeli sports, and ones which led to a bitter and hateful atmosphere between fans of both clubs, often resulting in acts of mutual violence and hooliganism. The tension between both clubs reached its peak in the 1980s. During this era they met for several times in the league's play-off finals and state cup finals. Probably the most famous meeting came in the best-of-three League Championship Finals in April, 1985. Behind the outstanding play of Mike Largey, Hapoel Tel Aviv won the first game in convincing fashion, leading by as much as 25 points late in the second half. Largey always played well against Maccabi Tel Aviv, having beaten them five times in the four years that he played for Hapoel Tel Aviv. Prior to his arrival, Hapoel Tel Aviv had not beaten Maccabi Tel Aviv in 17 straight games. Needless to say, the Hapoel Tel Aviv fans were very confident that this was their year to win the League Championship. The second game started with Largey picking up where he left off from the first game. Then towards the beginning of the second half, after play had stopped for a loose ball foul, Maccabi Tel Aviv's Motti Aroesti shoved his hand into the face of Largey. Largey responded immediately and threw Aroesti to the ground. Afterwards, both players were ejected from the game and were automatically suspended from playing in Game 3. Largey was far more valuable to Hapoel Tel Aviv then Aroesti was to Maccabi Tel Aviv and, not surprisingly, Maccabi Tel Aviv went on to win Games 2 and 3. To this day, most Hapoel Tel Aviv fans are convinced that Maccabi Tel Aviv planned this provocation as a way to deal with its nemesis. These matches are still regarded as of the most exciting and attractive in Israeli basketball history.

During the years as Maccabi Tel Aviv strengthened its dominance in Israeli basketball and its status as the almost-eternal champions, "Hapoel" fans accused their rival's management of various wrongful doing, including offering bribes to referees, signing contracts with rival players during the regular season and playoff series, and receiving exaggerated funds from state television for broadcasting rights. These accusations have never been proven true. With the decline of "Hapoel" in recent years the matches between both clubs became somewhat one-sided. This of course only led to the strengthening of hatred and repeated violent acts between the fans.

2005–06 season[edit]

In a controversial decision, Hapoel Tel Aviv decided to hold its home matches at Yad Eliyahu Arena. With its current 11,000 seats capacity it is recognized for years to be the home of rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv. This decision follows a statement by the club's owner Shaul Eizenberg which stated "Hapoel" must move to a larger arena in order to repeat its past glory days. Also contributed to this decision were a change in policy of local police and municipal authorities. These declared the Ussishkin Arena to be unsafe and declared plans for demolishing it and building a boardwalk in place of the arena. The arena was demolished in 2007, despite a campaign by fans to preserve it.[3]

This move is extremely opposed by the club's fans. After years of blaming the club's owner with its continuing deterioration, this move which is considered by most fans as treason of the club's legacy, caused them to announce they will not support the club in the new arena and under the current owners. The owner in return announced the club's fans to be "Hooligans who oppose progress" and announced the club will now try and seek new fans.

Despite the fact that the team has managed to stay in the Israeli first league, it played the 2006–07 season in the second league due to lack of funds. The lack of funds and managerial disorders, as well as a completely new team based on youth players, led to dismay and the team finished last in the second league and was relegated to the third division at the end of that season.

Hapoel Usishkin Period (2007–2010)[edit]

Hapoel Usishkin logo

Hapoel Ussishkin, The new fan owned and run team was founded in July 2007 and registered in the Israeli Liga Bet Dan District (5th tier),[4] by supporters of Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C. following the club's relegation to the Israeli 3rd tier, and after years characterized by the lack of financial support by the club's owner Shaul Eizenberg and poor management, which led it to bankruptcy, and finally relegation to the 4th tier, and most notably for the demolition of the historic Ussishkin Arena. The demolition was only made possible after a settlement between city officials and Eizenberg which went ahead and signed the agreement against the will of the majority of supporters and for a small compensation fee. This was the trigger for the foundation of the new club. In December 2009 the original men's senior team announced its disbandment[5] followed by the fans team's trust buying the rights to the Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C. brand thorgh a third party. The name change was approved by the supporter trust in the following months,[6] with the team promotion for the 2010-11 national league season.

2007–2008 season[edit]

Backed with an astronomical budget in 5th-tier terms of over 300,000 NIS. The team finished its first season with a perfect record of 22-0 and had qualified to the 4th division. The club also managed to win another title by taking the Israeli 5th Division Union Cup, also without losing a single game.

2008–2009 season[edit]

This season was also finished with a perfect record, 22-0, and the team qualified to the 3rd division. On Thursday, April 30, 2009, the team won the Israeli 4th and 3rd Division Union Cup, winning over Hapoel Keffar-Sabba in the final game.

2009–2010 season[edit]

Before the 2009-2010 season started, it was decided that Hapoel Ussishkin would not play in the same district as Hapoel Tel Aviv, which plays in the 3rd division as well, thus avoiding an intriguing match-up. The team qualified to Liga Leumit with a perfect record and won the Israeli 4th and 3rd Division Union Cup, winning over Elitzur Kohav-Yair/Keffar-Sabba in the final game.

Ownership and legal status[edit]

In June 2007 the new team was founded and registered in the Israeli 5th tier (Dan District). The club is owned and run by a supporters' trust with 1800 registered paying members as of May 2011. The admission fee to the trust is 300 NIS as of May 2011. Besides voting rights in the trust's general assemblies, it also provides a discount prices of club services such as a season ticket. The club is owned and run by a supporters' trust with 1800 registered paying members as of May 2011. The admission fee to the trust is 300 NIS as of September 2010.

The club holds elections for club's board every two years. In the second elections in history on June 11, 549 voters decided to keep four of the current board members in place for another term, while electing as a fifth member Gilad Simchoni, the team's captain in recent years.

Hapoel Tel Aviv (2011–present)[edit]

At the end of 2009/10 season, Following the closing of the original Hapoel Tel Aviv club, The rights to the club name were purchased by an anonymous business man, and were given to the Hapoel Ussishkin Management. The Management of Hapoel Ussishkin, following a member wide voting process, decided to rename the club name back to its original name, Hapoel Tel Aviv. In the 2010/11 season, the club reached the semi finals of the state cup, before being knocked off by Elitzur Netanya. The Club Failed to achieve promotion to the first division at the end of the 2010-11 season following a loss in the playoffs finals to B.C. Ha-Bika'a.

In the 2011-12 season the club finally Achieved promotion to the First Division, following a playoff win over Maccabi Beér Yaacov, thefore returning to the top tier after six years, and being the first fan-owned club in Israel to participate in a top tier league.

Hapoel Tel Aviv has become the first fans sports team ever in the Israeli sports generally and basketball particularly, which plays at the Israeli Super League.

In March 2016, NBA star Nate Robinson signed with Hapoel for the remainder of the season.[7] Robinson led Hapoel to the 8 seed and qualification for the Playoffs. On May 19, Robinson scored 46 points in a Quarter-final game against Hapoel Jerusalem. It was the highest points scored in a Playoff game since 1985.[8]


In its first season price ticket was set at 15 NIS. Since the majority of fans ceased to attend the old team's games, the average attendance in Hapoel ussishkin games was about 650, with a season high of 1,200 (full house) in the last game of the season against Hapoel Gan-Shmuel.

In its second season, despite a rise in ticket prices, average attendance rose to 1000.


Current roster[edit]

Hapoel Tel Aviv roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Age
PG 0 United States McKee, Tywain 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 32 – (1986-03-07)7 March 1986
G 1 United States Israel Banks, Adrian 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 32 – (1986-02-09)9 February 1986
F/C 3 United States Gaffney, Tony 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 33 – (1984-11-14)14 November 1984
PF 5 Israel Shterenberg, Gal 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 18 – (1999-08-27)27 August 1999
F/C 7 Israel Aidan, Daniel 2.04 m (6 ft 8 in) 28 – (1989-05-29)29 May 1989
F 8 Israel Menco, Rafi 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 24 – (1994-03-05)5 March 1994
G 9 Israel Wachner, Dor 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 19 – (1998-06-21)21 June 1998
G 10 Israel Hason, Noam 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) 19 – (1998-04-20)20 April 1998
G 14 Israel Limonad, Raviv (C) 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 33 – (1984-08-26)26 August 1984
G 21 Israel Amir, Shahar 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in) 19 – (1999-03-11)11 March 1999
G 22 United States McNeal, Jerel 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 30 – (1987-06-01)1 June 1987
PF 41 Israel Ginat, Tomer 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) 23 – (1994-11-07)7 November 1994
F/C 54 United States Howard, Matt 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 29 – (1989-01-23)23 January 1989
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured Injured

Updated: February 20, 2018

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2
C Matt Howard Daniel Aidan
PF Tony Gaffney Tomer Ginat Gal Shterenberg
G/F Rafi Menco Noam Hason
SG Raviv Limonad Adrian Banks Shahar Amir
PG Jerel McNeal Tywain McKee Dor Wachner

Players of the Year[edit]

The HUTA player of the year award is voted for by fans in time for the final home game of the season. Previous winners have been:

Year Winner
2007-08 Israel Tohar Haimovic
2008-09 Israel Tohar Haimovic
2009-10 Israel Matan Naor

Notable players[edit]

Season by season[edit]

Season Tier Division Pos. State Cup Other cups European competitions
2001–02 2 Liga Leumit 1st Quarterfinalist
2002–03 1 Super League 7th Semifinalist 4 FIBA Champions Cup
2003–04 1 Super League 2nd Semifinalist 3 FIBA Europe League
2004–05 1 Super League 2nd Quarterfinalist 3 FIBA Europe League
2005–06 1 Super League 5th Quarterfinalist 3 FIBA EuroCup
2006–07 2 Liga Leumit 14th Eightfinalist
2007–08 5 Israeli Liga Bet 1st
2008–09 4 Israeli Liga Alef 1st
2009–10 3 Liga Artzit 1st
2010–11 2 Liga Leumit 2nd Semifinalist
2011–12 2 Liga Leumit 1st Quarterfinalist Balkan League
2012–13 1 Super League 8th Eightfinalist
2013–14 1 Super League 5th Semifinalist
2014–15 1 Super League 7th Quarterfinalist
2015–16 1 Super League 8th Eightfinalist
2016–17 1 Super League 10th Eightfinalist

Managerial history[edit]

Dates Manager
2007–2009 Israel Uri Shelef
2009–2011 Israel Sharon Avrahami
2011–2014 Israel Erez Edelstein
2014–2015 Israel Oded Kattash
2015–2017 Israel Sharon Avrahami
2017 Israel Rami Hadar
2017 Israel Roy Hagai
2017-present Israel Danny Franco


Position Name
Chairman Rami Cohen
vice chairman Matan Kaplan
spokesperson Etay Berger
Board member Arie Mandel
Board member Yedidya Rapaport


Total titles: 9


Israeli League

  • Winners (5): 1959-60, 1960–61, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1968–69

Israeli Cup

  • Winners (4): 1961-62, 1968–69, 1983–84, 1992–93

Former managers[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]