Ligat HaAl (Hebrew: ליגת העל, lit., Supreme League or Premier League), or the Israeli Basketball Premier League, is the top-tier level league of professional competition in Israeli club basketball, making it Israel's primary basketball competition. The league's name is abbreviated as either BSL (Basketball Super League) or ISBL (Israeli Basketball Super League). For sponsorship reasons, the league is also referred to as Ligat Winner Sal (Hebrew: ליגת ווינר סל), lit. Winner Sal League, with "Winner" being the name of a game operated by the league's primary sponsor, Toto Winner, and "Sal" meaning basket.
|Number of teams||12|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Liga Leumit|
|Domestic cup(s)||State Cup|
|Current champions||Hapoel Holon|
|Most championships||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|TV partners||Sport 5|
|2022–23 Israeli Basketball Premier League|
The league is run by the Israeli Basketball Super League Administration Ltd.
Ligat HaAl comprises the top 12 basketball clubs in Israel, and was founded in 1954.
The league itself is most known in Europe, due to the success of the Israeli teams in European-wide competitions, such as the EuroLeague, EuroCup (formerly called the ULEB Cup), and FIBA's EuroChallenge (formerly called the FIBA EuroCup). Many non-drafted and free agent players from Europe and the NBA play in the Israeli league, as an alternative to NBA competition.
The league is the first division in Israeli basketball: the team that finishes last in a season is relegated to the Second Division, while the Second Division's top 8 teams compete in a play-off system right after the end of the regular season, with the team that reaches the finals series being promoted to the Premier League for the following season.
There are 12 teams in the league, and they play against each other thrice. The top eight teams advance to the five-game series Quarter-finals. The winners of the Quarter-finals advance to the Final Four.
Links with the NBAEdit
During the 1980s and the early 1990s there were many basketball games between the Israeli League stars and NBA teams such as the Phoenix Suns, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic, and the Los Angeles Lakers, all of which were played in Israel.
In October 2005, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated the Toronto Raptors 105–103 in an exhibition game that was played in Toronto, Canada; this was the first victory for any European or Israeli team over an NBA team at its home court.
Over the years, the league has exported many of its foreign players to the NBA. In 2009, Omri Casspi became the first Israeli-born NBA player with the Sacramento Kings. Prior to that, three players have been drafted: Doron Sheffer (who played U.S. college basketball at Connecticut), Yotam Halperin and Lior Eliyahu. Oded Kattash agreed to play with the New York Knicks, but he never actually played in the NBA because of the 1998–99 NBA lockout that started on July 1, 1998.
In the 2009 NBA Draft, Omri Casspi was selected 23rd overall by the Sacramento Kings, and Gal Mekel followed in 2013 by signing with Dallas Mavericks. In 2016, Dragan Bender became the highest selection from the Israeli Basketball Premier League to be selected in an NBA draft with the Phoenix Suns taking him at 4th overall. Other players who have moved from the league to the NBA include: Will Bynum, Anthony Parker, Joe Ingles, Roger Mason Jr., P. J. Tucker, Eugene "Pooh" Jeter, Elijah Bryant, Carlos Arroyo, and Nate Robinson.
In 2016, Amar'e Stoudemire retired from the NBA, however on August 1, 2016, he signed a two-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns. On October 1, 2016, he helped Hapoel Jerusalem win the 2016 Israeli Basketball League Cup. He also played for Maccabi Tel Aviv during the 2019-20 season, helping them win the 2019–20 Israeli Basketball Premier League championship. He was named MVP of the championship game.
In 2020 two players declared for the NBA draft. The first being Deni Avdija from Maccabi Tel Aviv and the second being Yam Madar from Hapeol Tel Aviv. Avdija was selected in the first round, 9th overall, by the Washington Wizards, and Madar was taken in the second round with the 47th pick of the draft by the Boston Celtics.
High-profile American Jewish recruitsEdit
In 2011, the league imposed a limit of four non-Israelis per team. Jews are immediately eligible for Israeli citizenship, under Israel's Law of Return. Consequently, non-Israeli Jewish basketball players are able to join a team in the league without using up one of the few roster spots available for non-Israeli players.
Titles by teamEdit
|Maccabi Tel Aviv||55||7|
|Hapoel Tel Aviv||5||20|
|Hapoel Galil Elyon||1||2|
|Maccabi Rishon LeZion||1||2|
|Hapoel Gilboa Galil||1||1|
|Hapoel Ramat Gan||0||6|
|Ironi Ramat Gan||0||3|
|Maccabi Ironi Ra'anana||0||1|
- Israeli Basketball Premier League MVP
- Israeli Basketball Premier League Finals MVP
- Israeli Basketball Premier League Quintet
- Israeli Basketball Premier League Defensive Player of the Year
- Israeli Basketball Premier League 6th Man of the Year
- Israeli Basketball Premier League Most Improved Player
- Israeli Basketball Premier League Discovery of the Year
- Israeli Basketball Premier League Coach of the Year
Notes and referencesEdit
- "BSL Sponsors" (in Hebrew). Israeli Basketball Super League. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
- The Basketball Super League Administration for Men (archive) basket.co.il
- "Winner League Basketball, News, Teams, Scores, Stats, Standings, Awards - eurobasket". www.eurobasket.com.
- "League format" (in Hebrew). Israeli Basketball Super League. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
- "Amar'e Stoudemire joins Hapoel Jerusalem!". Hapoel.co.il. August 1, 2016. Archived from the original on August 5, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
- "הצהרת כוונות: האדומים זכו בגביע ווינר סל". Basket.co.il (in Hebrew). October 1, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
- "Former NBA center Stoudemire named MVP of Israeli title game". SI.com. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
- "NBA News, Scores, Fantasy Games and Highlights 2019-20 | Yahoo Sports". sports.yahoo.com.
- Eurobasket.com League Page
- Official website
- IL-Sports Israeli Sport Website in English
- Maccabi Haifa Heat and Maccabi Tel Aviv broadcasts for North America