Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club (Hebrew: מועדון כדורסל מכבי תל אביב), known for sponsorship reasons as Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (מכבי פלייטיקה תל אביב‎), is a professional basketball club based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The team plays in the Israeli Basketball Premier League (the top tier of Israeli basketball), and internationally in the EuroLeague. Maccabi Tel Aviv is known as one of the best teams in Europe, having won 6 Euroleague titles since joining, and having sent numerous players to the NBA draft.

Maccabi Tel Aviv
Maccabi Tel Aviv logo
The Yellows
LeaguesIsraeli Basketball Premier League
Founded1932; 92 years ago (1932)
ArenaMenora Mivtachim Arena
LocationTel Aviv, Israel
Team colorsYellow, Blue
Main sponsorPlaytika
CEOEdli Marcus
PresidentShimon Mizrahi
General managerAvi Even
Head coachOded Kattash
Team captainJohn DiBartolomeo
OwnershipDavid Federman (29%)
Oudi Recanati (29%)
Richard Deitz (17.5%)
Shimon Mizrahi (14.5%)
Ben Ashkenazy (10%)
Championships6 EuroLeague
56 Israeli Championships
45 Israeli State Cups
10 Israeli League Cups
1 Intercontinental Cup
1 Adriatic Championship

The club started in the mid-1930s, as part of the Maccabi Tel Aviv Sports Club, which had been founded in 1906.

With six EuroLeague championships (including the 2001 FIBA SuproLeague), one Adriatic League championship, 55 Israeli Basketball Premier League championships, 45 Israeli State Cup titles, and 10 Israeli League Cup titles, Maccabi has been the most successful basketball team in Israel, and is also one of the most successful basketball teams outside of North America. Players such as Tal Brody, Miki Berkovich, Jim Boatwright, Kevin Magee, Earl Williams, and Aulcie Perry; and more recently Derrick Sharp, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Tal Burstein, Anthony Parker and Nikola Vujčić, have been among the elite of Europe's basketball players.

History edit

The Israeli Basketball Super League started in 1954, and Maccabi Tel Aviv was the first champion. It has dominated the championship ever since, winning the title 54 times, including a run of 23 titles in a row between 1970 and 1992. The team has also won the Israeli Basketball State Cup 45 times. Maccabi is considered[by whom?] Israel's national sporting representative in the world.[citation needed]

From 1969 until 2008, Maccabi Tel Aviv was sponsored by Elite, Israel's largest food company, and carried its name. Since July 2008, Maccabi has had a new sponsor – Electra. In 2015 they switched their sponsor once again, this time to fashion chain FOX.

Since 1963, the club's home court has been the Yad Eliyahu Arena in Tel Aviv (later renamed "Menora Mivtachim Arena"). Originally an open-air court for 5,000 spectators, it is now a modern indoor arena with a capacity of 10,383.[1]

Most Maccabi Tel Aviv head coaches have been former players of the club. Yehoshua Rozin was involved with the club for 40 years. Ralph Klein started as an 18-year-old player and later had several spells as a coach, and led the club to its first EuroLeague title in the 1977–78 season. Zvi Sherf played for Maccabi's second team, and coached the team for three spells. Pini Gershon played in the Youth Section, and as a coach led Maccabi to three EuroLeague titles; in 2001, 2004, and 2005.

Maccabi Tel Aviv has always provided the senior Israel national basketball team with a large number of players. Five Maccabi players, headed by Avraham Shneur, were on the team that represented Israel in its first EuroBasket, in 1953 in Moscow.

Tanhum Cohen-Mintz was one of Europe's top centers in the sixties, and was selected to the first FIBA European Selection European All-Star Team, which played in Madrid in 1964. Miki Berkowitz, Motty Aroesti, Lou Silver, and Eric Minkin played a major part in winning the silver medal at the 1979 EuroBasket in Torino. Doron Jamchy played 16 years for the Israel national team, and holds the record for appearances (191 international games) and points scored (3,515).

Maccabi Tel Aviv was the first Israeli club to enter the FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague), in the 1958 season. Since then, it has played over 600 games in European-wide competitions, and was the only Israeli club to play in a FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup (FIBA Saporta Cup) Final (1967 Cup Winners' Cup), and to win the European-wide top-tier level EuroLeague on six occasions (1977, 1981, *2001 FIBA SuproLeague, 2004, 2005, and 2014). Maccabi has played in 15 EuroLeague Finals (1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 2000, *2001 FIBA SuproLeague, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2014). In 1994 Tel Aviv, and in 2004 in Tel Aviv, Maccabi organized the EuroLeague Final Four.

The first basketball game between an NBA and a FIBA team was held in 1978, in Tel Aviv. Maccabi Tel Aviv beat the defending NBA champion Washington Bullets, 98–97.

Maccabi Tel Aviv has played a record 18 times vs. NBA teams, and became the first European team to win on an NBA floor, when it beat the Toronto Raptors, 105–103, in 2005. It also beat the Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets in 1984, to win a tournament in Tel Aviv.

Through the decades edit

1950s edit

5 Israeli League championships, 3 Israeli Cups.

Early success in the Israeli League. Rivalry with Hapoel Tel Aviv begins.

1960s edit

Tal Brody

5 Israeli League championships, 5 Israeli Cups.

Establishment as an elite club with FIBA European All-Stars, such as center Tanhum Cohen-Mintz. Fierce rivalry with home-town foes, Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Tal Brody came to Israel in 1966 from the United States, after having been drafted #12 in the 1965 National Basketball Association Draft, originally just to take one year out of his life to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv.[2][3][4][5][6] Ralph Klein, Israel's most successful coach at the time, said that up until the enthusiastic Brody's arrival, Israelis had only viewed basketball as a fun game.[2][7] But within a year, with his serious attitude and his inspirational commitment, Brody had inculcated his teammates with his view of basketball as a way of life.[2] At his urging, the team doubled the number of practices it held every week.[8]

To capitalize on Brody's quickness and speed, the coach abandoned the team's formerly slow pace, in favor of a fast-paced motion game, built around fast breaks.[2] Brody was the most dominant player in the European-wide second tier level FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup (FIBA Saporta Cup) in the 1966–67 season. In 1967, he was named Israel's Sportsman of the Year.[7][9] The team made it through the first, second, and third rounds of the European Cup Winners' Cup's (Saporta Cup) playoffs, and reached the Finals, finishing second in the league.[2][9][10]

For the first time, the Israeli Prime Minister (Levi Eshkol), the Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff, and Knesset members came to games. Demand for tickets to games in the team's 5,000-seat stadium was so high that they became exceedingly difficult to obtain.[6][7][11]

1970s edit

1 FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague), 10 Israeli League championships, 8 Israeli Cups.

The rise to the top in Europe. The first EuroLeague championship in 1977 was soon followed by another finals appearance in 1980. Tal Brody was the captain of that Maccabi Tel Aviv team.

1977 FIBA European Champions Cup: "We are on the map!" edit

Miki Berkovich

The year 1977 was the apex of the Cold War, and the Soviet Union was boycotting Israel.[9] In the first round of the FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague) Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Real Madrid, 94–85. In the second round, it beat BC Brno, Czechoslovakian League, for the first time, 91–76, on 15 February 1977.[2][12]

In the FIBA European Champions Cup semifinals, Maccabi Tel Aviv was matched against CSKA Moscow – the Red Army team.[9][10][12] CSKA Moscow was a powerhouse. The Soviet Army team had won the prior USSR League championship.[2][9][12][13] Six of its players had played on the Soviet national team that had defeated the United States in the 1972 Summer Olympics, and their captain was Sergei Belov.[10][14] And the Communists were well known for using sports to glorify what they billed as their supremacy over the West.[2]

The Soviet Union had broken off diplomatic relations with Israel a decade earlier, and politically and militarily backed Israel's Arab enemies. For political reasons, therefore, CSKA Moscow refused to play in Tel Aviv. And the Soviets also refused to grant visas to the Israelis, to allow them to come play in Moscow.[2][9][10] In the end, Maccabi Tel Aviv's "home game" was played in the small, neutral town of Virton, Belgium.[2][9][10][12]

Ralph Klein

The game took place in an emotional atmosphere. It was of huge symbolic value for Maccabi Tel Aviv fans, and for many Israelis who ordinarily had no interest in basketball.[2][15] The game pitted the capitalist West against the Communist East, and Israel against the country that was supplying its enemies with weapons.[2][16] The game also matched the country of Israel, with a total of a mere 4 million inhabitants, against the Soviets, with their 290 million people.[2] The newspaper Maariv billed the 17 February 1977, game as "the fight between David and Goliath."[2] Most of Israel's population watched the game, which was broadcast on Israel's only TV channel at the time.[2]

Maccabi Tel Aviv upset the heavily favored Soviets, 91–79.[2] The feeling among Israelis was not only that CSKA Moscow had been defeated, but that a victory – albeit small – had been achieved against the mighty Soviet Union.[10][12] The game has for decades been recognized as a key event in the forging of Israel's national identity. Even decades later, it was being replayed repeatedly on Israeli television.[2][8]

Aulcie Perry
Motti Aroesti

"We are on the map!" proclaimed a euphoric Tal Brody, in his heavily American-accented Hebrew, as a TV announcer pushed a microphone in front of him for a post-game quote, while people danced the hora around, him in excitement and celebration. "And we are staying on the map – not only in sports, but in everything."[10][17][18][19] The phrase "We are on the map!" ("anachnu al hamapa, ve'anahnu nisharim al hamapa!"), a literal translation of an English phrase into his adopted language, but a novel saying in Hebrew, became a new, popular phrase in Israel.[18][20] It reflected a physical victory by the nascent Jewish Zionist idea, and national pride.[11][18][21] It became Israel's most famous quote,[3] and a staple of Israeli speech.[8][22][23][24][25]

Back home, hundreds of thousands of Israelis celebrated spontaneously in the streets, and 150,000 in Tel Aviv congregated in celebration in what is now Rabin Square. Many jumped into its fountain, splashing in water and champagne.[2][10][26] Recalling the moment, an Israeli quoted in the book From Beirut to Jerusalem told author Thomas Friedman that on one level it was Brody the star basketball player and his teammates beating the Russians, but on another level it was "my grandfather beating them. It was our retroactive victory over the Cossacks."[27]

The FIBA European Champions Cup Finals were played in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on 7 April 1977.[28] Yugoslavia was a Non-Aligned country that supported Palestine, and with which Israel did not have diplomatic relations, and the El Al plane that brought the Maccabi Tel Aviv players over to it for the game, was the first Israeli plane ever allowed to land there.[19][29]

The Israelis were pitted against the highly favored Mobilgirgi Varese, the champions of Italy's top league.[28] Mobilgirgi Varese had beaten the Israelis twice that year, and had beaten them in the European-wide second-tier level FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup (FIBA Saporta Cup) Finals, ten years earlier, when Brody first started playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.[28] Back in Israel, the entire country watched the game on television.[2][7][10][12][30]

Maccabi Tel Aviv went on to defeat Mobilgirgi Varese by one point, 78–77, in the FIBA European Champions Cup Finals.[28][31] Brody, as the team's captain, received the FIBA European Cup trophy from FIBA's Secretary General, and lifted it over his head.[2][10] Jim Boatwright was the game's leading scorer, with 26 points.

It was Israel's first FIBA European Champions Cup title, in the 23-nation league.[29] It was also the first time that Israel had won a championship of that caliber in any sport, and was, at the time, Israel's greatest achievement in international sports.[2][4][9][30] The victory greatly lifted the spirit and morale of the country.[4][9] In Israel, 200,000 people gathered to celebrate in Israel's National Park, and the event was celebrated as a national holiday. When the team returned home, it found 150,000 Israelis waiting for it.[10][19][32]

1980s edit

Jim Boatwright
Kevin Magee

1 FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague), 1 FIBA Intercontinental Cup, 10 Israeli League championships, 8 Israeli Cups.

A golden era of the Maccabi Tel Aviv ball club. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Maccabi dominated the Israeli Basketball Super League, winning all 20 league championships in a row. Winning the FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague) title in 1981, and reaching the FIBA European Champions Cup Finals for four more times, in 1982, 1987, 1988, and 1989. Miki Berkovich 1971–75, and 1976–88, Motti Aroesti 1974–88, Doron Jamchi 1985–96 and 1999–2000, Kevin Magee 1984–90, Lou Silver 1975–85, Ken Barlow 1987–90, Aulcie Perry 1976–85, and LaVon Mercer 1988–95 were the superstars of that Maccabi run.

1981 FIBA European Champions Cup championship edit

Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Sinudyne Bologna, 80–79, in the Finals game, in Strasbourg, under head coach Rudy D'Amico. It was proof that Maccabi was at the top of European professional club basketball for good.

1990s edit

Doron Jamchi
Derrick Sharp

9 Israeli League championships, 5 Israeli Cups.

For Maccabi Tel Aviv there was no European-wide title in the decade, and the team had struggles in European competitions. However, the club was still considered to be one of the European powerhouses of that era, as the club then featured European All-Stars such as Doron Jamchy and Oded Kattash, as well LaVon Mercer. With the exception of 1993, Maccabi absolutely dominated the Israel League, winning every championship.

2000s edit

3 EuroLeague championships, 9 Israeli League championships, 7 Israeli Cups, 1 Israeli League Cup.

The "second golden era" of Maccabi Tel Aviv, making it the second most successful European basketball club of that decade. Maccabi made it to the FIBA EuroLeague's title game in 2000, which marked the start of Maccabi's second "golden era", the most successful of the club to date. During this decade, the club won three EuroLeague championships, in 2001 (FIBA SuproLeague), 2004, and 2005 respectively. They also reached the European title game on two more occasions, in 2006 and 2008. Ariel McDonald 1999–2002, Anthony Parker 2000–02 and 2003–06, Nate Huffman 1999–2002, Šarūnas Jasikevičius 2003–05, Maceo Baston 2003–06, Derrick Sharp 1996–2011, Nikola Vujčić 2002–08, and Tal Burstein 2000–09 and 2010–12 were the top players of Maccabi during this era.

2001 FIBA SuproLeague championship edit

Anthony Parker

The return to European glory for the club. This was the only year in European-wide professional club basketball history, with two recognized top-tier level European-wide champions, from two different organizations. Maccabi Tel Aviv was recognized as the winner of the traditional FIBA tournament, which had been renamed from the FIBA EuroLeague, to the FIBA SuproLeague; and Kinder Bologna, which was recognized as the champions of the newly established EuroLeague, which was organized by EuroLeague Basketball.

2004 and 2005, back-to-back EuroLeague championships edit

Maccabi Tel Aviv fans did not have to wait too much for another big title, as it all clicked in the 2003–04 season. Sharp's miracle three-pointer to survive the EuroLeague Top 16 that year has become one of the classic shots in European basketball history, and is unforgettable for any Maccabi fan. Once in the 2004 EuroLeague Final Four, Maccabi turned in a record breaking performance, with an outstanding 118-point title game performance. Maccabi won back-to-back EuroLeague titles in 2005, becoming the first team to do so since 1991. The players Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Anthony Parker, Tal Burstein, Maceo Baston, and Nikola Vujčić, coached by Pini Gershon, became a classic lineup in European basketball history. This team of 2003–04 and 2004–05 is generally considered one of the best basketball teams in European club history, and certainly one of the most fun to watch ever in basketball history. After starting point guard "Saras" Jasikevičius left the team, to fulfill his lifelong dream and play in the NBA, Maccabi went back to the EuroLeague Final, in the 2005–06 season, but CSKA Moscow stood in the way of a three-peat. Anthony Parker and Maceo Baston left after that year, and returned home, signing multi-million dollar contracts with NBA teams. Center Nikola Vujčić stayed with Maccabi for two more years, playing in one more final, in the 2007–08 season, before leaving the team, and signing a multi-million dollar deal with Olympiacos. Israeli Super League legends Derrick Sharp and Tal Burstein, remained with Maccabi, and continued to play for the team until 2011 and 2012, respectively. Maccabi also dominated the Israel League, winning every tournament from 1993 to 2007, and winning multiple Cup tournaments.

2010s edit

David Blu
Guy Pnini
Jordan Farmar
Omri Casspi
Lior Eliyahu

1 EuroLeague Championship, 5 Israeli League championships, 8 Israeli Cups, 6 Israeli League Cups, 1 Adriatic League championship.

For the 2010–11 season, management brought back head coach David Blatt, and added new premier players. Maccabi Tel Aviv reeled off nine consecutive wins to finish the EuroLeague regular season. Highlights included David Blu's game-winning triple against Khmki, Sofoklis Schortsanitis's dominance inside, and the defense of steals leaders Chuck Eidson and Doron Perkins. The momentum ended with a road loss at Regal FC Barcelona, at the start of the EuroLeague Top 16, but Maccabi surged again with three straight wins to reach the EuroLeague playoffs. Barca handed Maccabi another loss, this time in Tel Aviv – the only home defeat of the season – and ended Blatt's hopes for home-court advantage, in the next stage against Caja Laboral.

Maccabi Tel Aviv prevailed in the EuroLeague playoff series, as the injured Perkins' replacement in the starting lineup, Guy Pnini, set a single-game-career-high in scoring, along the way, and the team moved on to the 2011 Final Four. Jeremy Pargo finished with the best performance index rating, and the second-most points per game, among all playoffs participants. He also ranked among the top five players in three-pointers made, assists, and steals. Backup center Richard Hendrix was named MVP of the first round of the EuroLeague Playoffs, and finished as the overall playoff leader in rebounds and blocks. Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid in the EuroLeague semifinals, 82–63, advancing to the EuroLeague Final game. On 8 May 2011, Maccabi lost the final game, 70–78, to Panathinaikos. With the exception of 2008 and 2010, Maccabi, up to 2011, also won every Israeli League from 1993.

Maccabi announced that it would join the Adriatic League for the 2011–12 season, joining the league for the second time, as it had also joined the league for the 2002–03 season, when it reached the League's finals game.[33] This was supposed to bridge the gap between the highest basketball level Maccabi engages in, in the EuroLeague, and the low-level Israeli league.

On 3 August 2011, NBA point guard Jordan Farmar of the New Jersey Nets signed a one-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv, in the wake of the 2011 NBA lockout. He played for the team during the lockout.[8][34][35] It was reported on 14 November 2011, that Maccabi also agreed to terms with Israeli NBA small forward Omri Casspi, to join the team in several weeks.[36] However, the end of the NBA lockout, and the 25 December 2011 start date for the 2011–12 season, brought Casspi and Farmar back from Tel Aviv, to join their NBA teams (Cleveland and Brooklyn, respectively).

Maccabi Tel Aviv ended the season winning four titles: the Israeli League Cup, the Israeli State Cup, the Israeli Super League, and the Adriatic League. In the 2012–13 season, Maccabi won the Israeli League Cup and the Israeli State Cup, and reached the EuroLeague playoffs, losing to Real Madrid 0:3. In the Israeli Super League, Maccabi suffered a huge disappointment, as they lost to Maccabi Haifa 79:86 in the finals.

2014 EuroLeague championship edit

In the 2013–14 EuroLeague season, Maccabi Tel Aviv finished first in their regular season group. The team went on to finish third in their top 16 group, leading to a best-of-5 playoff series against Emporio Armani Milano, without the home-court advantage. In the first game, Maccabi stunned the hosts from Milano, by turning a 7-point deficit, with 30 seconds remaining on the clock, into a 101–99 overtime victory.[37] Maccabi then won two home games, to win the series 3–1, and to secure its place in the 2014 EuroLeague Final Four.

In the EuroLeague semifinals, Maccabi came from behind to defeat the heavily favored CSKA Moscow, with a last-second basket, after CSKA had been up by 15 points late in the game. Tyrese Rice scored the game-winning lay-up, with 5.5 seconds to go.[38]

Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach David Blatt admitted after the semifinal that Maccabi had overshot every possible expectation during the season. When asked if the sky was the limit, Blatt said that "in this storm of a season, Maccabi long ago touched the sky, and reached the moon".

On 18 May 2014, Maccabi Tel Aviv won its sixth EuroLeague championship, after it defeated Real Madrid, by a score of 98–86, in overtime, to win the EuroLeague championship.[39] Tyrese Rice was named the EuroLeague Final Four MVP. The game received worldwide media attention, after in response to Real Madrid's loss to Maccabi, over 18,000 anti-Semitic messages were posted on Twitter, in an outpouring of hatred against Jews.[40] Maccabi entered the EuroLeague Finals as an underdog, with few expecting the team to even make it into the EuroLeague Final Four, let alone to go all the way and win the championship.[41]

Following the success of winning the EuroLeague championship, Maccabi Tel Aviv's head coach David Blatt was hired to be the head coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.[42] Blatt's assistant, Guy Goodes was then appointed as his replacement at Maccabi.

2014 FIBA International Cup edit

After winning the 2014 Euroleague Championship, Maccabi Tel Aviv was invited by FIBA to play 2014 FIBA Intercontinental Cup against Brazil's Flamengo,[43] who won the 2014 FIBA Americas League. The two-game aggregate score tournament took place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 26–28 September 2014, to determine the champion.[44] After beating Flamengo at the first game by 69–66, Maccabi lost the second game by 90–77. The aggregate score was 156–146, which made Flamengo the 2014 FIBA International Cup champion. Guy Goodes was Maccabi's coach at these two games.

2014–15 season edit

Maccabi fans in Yad Eliyahu Arena
Itay Segev

Head coach David Blatt left Maccabi to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers. Assistant coach Guy Goodes was promoted to head coach. In the 2014–15 season, Maccabi Tel Aviv was defeated 2–3 in the Super League Semifinals by Hapoel Eilat. It was the first time in 22 years that Maccabi would not play in the Finals.[45] In the EuroLeague, Maccabi lost in the playoffs to Fenerbahçe Ülker 0:3.

2015–2017 Seasons: Downfall edit

Alex Tyus
Devin Smith

Starting from the 2015–16 season, the team was named Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, referring to the new main fashion line sponsor. New players were signed, including some proven players such as Taylor Rochestie and Vítor Faverani. Jordan Farmar returned, and prospect Dragan Bender gained more playing time as well.

After a slow start in the EuroLeague (1–3) and Israeli League (3–2), head coach Goodes was sacked on 9 November 2015.[46] On 14 November, Žan Tabak signed a deal to become the head coach of Maccabi.[47] Tabak lead the team to an Israeli Cup victory. Maccabi Tel Aviv was eventually eliminated from the EuroLeague after the regular season, and played in the 2015–16 Eurocup Basketball Last 32 phase, but failed to qualify for the playoffs after a loss at home to BC Nizhny Novgorod. The Israeli League season proved to be a disaster, when Maccabi was eliminated in the semifinal for the second season in a row, this time by the eventual champions in Maccabi Rishon LeZion. This started a three-year spell of not doing well in either league.

The 2016–17 season was even worse for Maccabi Tel Aviv. During the summer, solid players such as Sonny Weems and Andrew Goudelock were signed, in hopes that they would lead Maccabi back to glory. Erez Edelstein was named the head coach. However, the season began with difficulties in both the Israeli League, and with losses in the EuroLeague, and Edelstein was fired. Assistant Rami Hadar briefly served as coach, before resigning after a series of losses, and Maccabi hired Ainars Bagatskis, who served as David Blatt's assistant in Darüşşafaka, as the new head coach. While Maccabi won the Israeli Cup with a win over rival Hapoel Jerusalem, in the EuroLeague, Maccabi finished in 14th place in the new format, while only finishing in 4th place in the Israeli League regular season. Bagatskis was fired just before the playoffs, with Arik Shivek becoming the new head coach for Maccabi. Maccabi made the 2017 Israeli Basketball Super League Final Four, but suffered a shocking loss to Maccabi Haifa in the semifinals, on the home Menora Mivtachim Arena floor. After the season, longtime player Devin Smith, with the team since the 2011–12 season, announced his retirement.

2017–2020 edit

John DiBartolomeo
Deni Avdija

Neven Spahija returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv as the new head coach, having coached the team in the 2006–07 season. Forming a completely new team, Maccabi had a successful season – in the Euroleague, Maccabi fought for most of the season for a place in the playoffs, falling short only in the end, but finishing in 10th place, a huge improvement from the previous Euroleague seasons. In Israel, while Maccabi lost the Israeli State Cup for the first time since 2008, to Hapoel Holon, Maccabi won the Israel League Cup. In the Israeli League, Maccabi finished in 1st place in the regular season, and dominated in the playoffs, finishing by winning the 2018 Israeli Basketball Premier League Final Four, defeating Hapoel Tel Aviv 98:74 in the semifinals, and crushing Cup winner Hapoel Holon 95:75 in the finals, winning their first Israeli League since 2014. Alex Tyus was named the MVP.

For the 2018–19 season Maccabi Tel Aviv had high hopes. Coach Spahija started the season, but after four consecutive losses and a 1–6 start to the 2018–19 EuroLeague Season, Maccabi fired Spahija and hired Ioannis Sfairopoulos as the head coach. Maccabi improved, and nearly qualified for the Euroleague playoffs, though a few losses in the end prevented the team from qualification. Maccabi finished 10th. While Maccabi lost both Cup tournaments, they dominated the Israeli League – winning both 1st place in the regular season, and the 2019 Israeli Basketball Premier League Final Four tournament, held in Tel Aviv, to win the Israeli League for the second consecutive season, with John DiBartolomeo winning the MVP award.

2020–present edit

In the 2020–21 season, Maccabi Tel Aviv started off with no fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, and got off to a rocky start, winning 14 out of 34 Euroleague games. In the Winners League, Maccabi beat Hapoel Gilboa Galil to win the Israeli finals series 2–1, to win its 55th championship.

Through the summer of 2021, Maccabi signed Jalen Reynolds who had already played for the club, alongside James Nunnally and Derrick Williams.

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the records of all regular season matches against Russian teams were annulled, and team won-loss records adjusted accordingly, dramatically affecting league standings. In the case of Maccabi Tel Aviv, it had lost three of four games against the Russian teams.[48][49] Due to the events in Gaza beginning October 2023, Maccabi played all home games at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in Belgrade, Serbia for the 2023-24 EuroLeague season.

Arena edit

Menora Mivtachim Arena edit

Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv with a capacity of 10,383 is the team's arena since 1964.

Aleksandar Nikolić Hall edit

Due to the events of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, The EuroLeague detractive board decided that Maccabi will host its’ “home” games in the Aleksandar Nikolić Hall in Belgrade, Serbia until all matters are resolved

Supporters edit

Maccabi Tel Aviv is widely recognised as "The State Club" for representing the State of Israel and the Jewish People around Europe and around the world, attracting huge crowds of local Jews at every away game.

In Yad Eliyahu Arena Maccabi is followed by one organised group: "The GATE" which was founded in 2017 after the merger of two organized groups, the first one is "Gate 11" and the second one is "Gate 7".

Accomplishments per season edit

In European and worldwide competitions edit

Players edit

Current roster edit

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA-sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Maccabi Tel Aviv roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
G/F 1   Cleveland, Antonius 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 90 kg (198 lb) 30 – (1994-02-02)2 February 1994
F 3   Webb III, James 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 92 kg (203 lb) 30 – (1993-08-19)19 August 1993
G 4     Brown, Lorenzo 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 86 kg (190 lb) 33 – (1990-08-26)26 August 1990
G 5   Baldwin IV, Wade   1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 28 – (1996-03-29)29 March 1996
SF 8   Menco, Rafi 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 100 kg (220 lb) 30 – (1994-03-05)5 March 1994
F/C 9     Sorkin, Roman 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 108 kg (238 lb) 27 – (1996-08-11)11 August 1996
G 12     DiBartolomeo, John (C) 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) 79 kg (174 lb) 32 – (1991-06-20)20 June 1991
F/C 14   Rivero, Jasiel 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 110 kg (243 lb) 30 – (1993-10-31)31 October 1993
F/C 15     Cohen, Jake 2.09 m (6 ft 10 in) 108 kg (238 lb) 33 – (1990-09-25)25 September 1990
G 17   Mayer, Omer 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 17 – (2006-10-08)8 October 2006
G 19   Goldman, Yaron 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 17 – (2006-06-19)19 June 2006
G 24   Thomasson, Joe 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 75 kg (165 lb) 30 – (1993-08-16)16 August 1993
C 32   Nebo, Josh 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 111 kg (245 lb) 26 – (1997-07-17)17 July 1997
PG 45   Blatt, Tamir 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 27 – (1997-05-04)4 May 1997
F 50   Colson, Bonzie 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 102 kg (225 lb) 28 – (1996-01-12)12 January 1996
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)
Team manager
Professional Committee

  • (C) Team captain
  •   Injured

EuroLeague Depth chart edit

Lorenzo Brown
Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2 Bench 2
C Josh Nebo Jasiel Rivero
PF James Webb III Jake Cohen Roman Sorkin
SF Bonzie Colson Antonius Cleveland Rafi Menco
SG John DiBartolomeo Joe Thomasson Wade Baldwin IV  
PG Lorenzo Brown Tamir Blatt

Ligat HaAl Depth chart edit

Pos. Starting 5 Bench
C Roman Sorkin
PF Jake Cohen
SF Rafi Menco
SG John DiBartolomeo Omer Mayer
PG Tamir Blatt Yaron Goldman
  • The Israeli league rule requires every team to have at least one Israeli on the court at any time.
  • There should be maximum 5 foreigners on a 12-men game sheet.


Squad changes for the 2023–2024 season edit

In edit

Note: Flags indicate national team, as has been defined under FIBA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIBA nationality.

No. Position Player
3   USA F James Webb III (from   Valencia)
45   ISR PG Tamir Blatt (from   Alba Berlin)
1   USA G/F Antonius Cleveland (from   Adelaide 36ers)
14   CUB F/C Jasiel Rivero (from   Valencia)

Out edit

Note: Flags indicate national team, as has been defined under FIBA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIBA nationality.

No. Position Player
3   USA G Jalen Adams (to   Türk Telekom)
6   USA PF Jarell Martin (to   Galatasaray)
10   ISR SF Guy Pnini (retired)
13   USA G/F Darrun Hilliard (to   Karşıyaka)
17   NGA F/C Suleiman Braimoh (to   Meralco Bolts)
20   USA G/F Austin Hollins (to   Žalgiris)
22   CIV F/C Alex Poythress (to   Olimpia Milano)
33   ISR PG Yiftach Ziv (to   Granada)

Franchise leaders edit

Points scored in the EuroLeague

  1.   Miki Berkovich – 3,588
  2.   Doron Jamchi – 3,262
  3.   Kevin Magee – 2,081
  4.    Aulcie Perry – 2,077
  5.    Lou Silver – 1,999
  6.   Anthony Parker – 1,804
  7.    Scottie Wilbekin – 1,801
  8.    Derrick Sharp – 1,755
  9.   Nikola Vujčić – 1,730
  10.   Scottie Wilbekin – 1,629
  11.   Devin Smith – 1,539
  12.   Nadav Henefeld – 1,519
  13.    Jim Boatwright – 1,481
  14.    Tal Brody – 1,378
  15.    David Blu – 1,244
  16.   Earl Williams – 1,227
  17.   Tal Burstein – 1,224

Points scored in the Israeli League

  1.   Miki Berkovich – 6,060
  2.   Tanhum Cohen-Mintz – 5,170
  3.   Doron Jamchi – 4,896
  4.    Tal Brody – 4,049
  5.   Kevin Magee – 3,215
  6.    Lou Silver – 3,195
  7.   Ralph Klein – 2,817
  8.    Derrick Sharp – 2,664
  9.   Nadav Henefeld – 2,438
  10.    Jim Boatwright – 2,282
  11.   Motti Daniel – 2,281
  12.    Aulcie Perry – 2,171
  13.   Motti Aroesti – 2,067
  14.   Tal Burstein – 2,043
  15.   Micha Schwartz – 1,963

Honors edit

Total titles: 115

Domestic competitions edit

Israeli League

  • Winners (56): 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21, 2022–23
  • Runners-up (7): 1959–60, 1960–61, 1965–66, 1968–69, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13

Israeli Cup

  • Winners (45): 1955–56, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1993–94, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2020–21
  • Runners-up (8): 1961–62, 1968–69, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2007–08, 2017–18, 2022–23, 2023–24

Israeli League Cup

European competitions edit

Winners (6): 1976–77, 1980–81, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2013–14
Runners-up (9): 1979–80, 1981–82, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1999–00, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2010–11
Semifinalist (1): 2001–02
3rd place (3): 1978–79, 1984–85, 1990–91
4th place (1): 1977–78
Final Four (12): 1988, 1989, 1991, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014
Runners-up (1): 1966–67
Winners (1): 1991
3rd place (1): 1990

Regional competitions edit

Winners (1): 2011–12
Runners-up (1): 2002–03

Worldwide competitions edit

Winners (1): 1980
Runners-up (1): 2014
3rd place (2): 1977, 1982
4th place (1): 1987

Other competitions edit

Winners (1): 2002
Runners-up (1): 1991
3rd place (1): 1990
4th place (2): 1989, 1992
  • Tel Aviv, Israel Invitational Game:
Winners (5): 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2020
Runners-up (1): 2016
  • Bamberg, Germany Invitational Game:
Winners (1): 2009
  • Frankfurt, Germany Invitational Game
Winners (1): 2009
  • Wroclaw Invitational Tournament
Winners (1): 2010
  • Tournoi d'Angers, France
Winners (1): 2011
  • Bonn, Germany Invitational Game
Winners (1): 2014
Runners-up (1): 2015
  • Eilat, Israel Invitational Game
Winners (1): 2017
  • Pro Stars Tournament
Winners (2): 2015, 2019

Individual club awards edit

Winners (6): 1976–77, 1980–81, 2000–01, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2013–14

Matches against NBA teams edit

8 September 1978
Washington Bullets   97–98   Maccabi Tel Aviv *
28 August 1984
New Jersey Nets   97–104   Maccabi Tel Aviv
29 August 1984
Phoenix Suns   98–113   Maccabi Tel Aviv
9 October 1988
Philadelphia 76ers   108–107   Maccabi Tel Aviv
12 October 1989
Miami Heat   101–95   Maccabi Tel Aviv
16 October 1990
Los Angeles Lakers   129–106   Maccabi Tel Aviv
24 October 1991
Los Angeles Clippers   146–112   Maccabi Tel Aviv
27 October 1991
Los Angeles Clippers   98–93   Maccabi Tel Aviv
11 October 1999
Miami Heat   126–91   Maccabi Tel Aviv
16 October 2005
Toronto Raptors   103–105   Maccabi Tel Aviv **
19 October 2005
Orlando Magic   93–79   Maccabi Tel Aviv
8 October 2006
San Antonio Spurs   97–84   Maccabi Tel Aviv
11 October 2006
Phoenix Suns   119–102   Maccabi Tel Aviv
17 October 2006
Cleveland Cavaliers   93–67   Maccabi Tel Aviv
19 October 2006
Toronto Raptors   118–84   Maccabi Tel Aviv
11 October 2007
New York Knicks   112–85   Maccabi Tel Aviv
  Madison Square Garden, New York City
18 October 2009
New York Knicks   106–91   Maccabi Tel Aviv
  Madison Square Garden, New York City
20 October 2009
Los Angeles Clippers   108–96   Maccabi Tel Aviv
  Staples Center, Los Angeles
5 October 2014
Cleveland Cavaliers   107–80   Maccabi Tel Aviv
  Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
7 October 2014
Brooklyn Nets   111–94   Maccabi Tel Aviv
  Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York City


^* First European team to defeat an NBA team.
^** First European team to defeat an NBA team on North American soil.

The club's website also offers a narrative about their history vs NBA teams, as well as their first victory in 1978.

Notable players edit

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA-sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.


To appear in this section a player must have either:

  • Set a club record or won an individual award while at the club
  • Played at least one official international match for their national team at any time
  • Played at least one official NBA match at any time.

Bold indicates Maccabi Hall of Famers (Sources:, [1])


Lorenzo Brown 2 seasons: ‘23- ‘24

Scottie Wilbekin 4 seasons: ‘18- ‘22

Wade Baldwin IV 2 seasons: ‘23- ‘24

. Khyri Thomas 1 season: ‘22



Notable head coaches edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Menora Mivtachim Arena".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Yair Galily and Michael Bar-Eli (2005). "From Tal Brody to European Champions: Early Americanization and the" Golden Age" of Israeli Basketball, 1965–1979" (PDF). Journal of Sport History. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b Penny Richman (16 February 1992). "Fifteen Years After Maccabi Tel Aviv's 'Miracle in Virton' Brody-Basketball's Untiring Ambassador". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Levi Epstein (23 March 2011). "One on One with Tal Brody". Algemeiner. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  5. ^ Michael Kaminer (2 March 2011). "Israeli Sports Hero to be Inducted into Jewish Sports Hall of Fame". The Forward. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b Fine, Jeremy (29 May 2010). "Interview with Israeli Basketball Legend Tal Brody". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d Frankie Sachs (27 February 2008). "50 Years interview: Tal Brody, Maccabi Tel Aviv". Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d Laura Weisskopf Bleill (March 2008). "Homeland Hero". Illinois Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Joseph Siegman (2000). Jewish sports legends: the International Jewish Hall of Fame. Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-284-8. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Yossi Katz (2010). A Voice Called: Stories of Jewish Heroism. Gefen Publishing House Ltd. p. 203. ISBN 978-965-229-480-7. Retrieved 30 March 2011. Brody.
  11. ^ a b Matt Friedman (17 May 2004). "'Sometimes it's About More Than Sports'". The Jerusalem Report. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Peter S. Horvitz (2007). The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History and The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars. SP Books. ISBN 978-1-56171-907-5. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Israel Highlights". Archived from the original on 11 December 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  14. ^ Vladimir Stankovic (19 November 2007). "50 Years interview: Sergey Belov, CSKA Moscow". Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  15. ^ Gil Ronen (19 January 2011). "Hall of Fame Inducts Basketball Great Tal Brody". Israel National News. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  16. ^ Wertheimer, Stef; Gil Hoffman (24 November 2008). "Tal Brody formally joins Likud race". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  17. ^ In Hebrew: "אנחנו במפה! ואנחנו נשארים במפה – לא רק בספורט, בהכל"
  18. ^ a b c Axel Stähler (2007). Anglophone Jewish literature. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-41464-7. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  19. ^ a b c Jonathan Mayo (January 2011). "Brody went from hoops star to diplomat – and he did it all for Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  20. ^ Liat Collins (12 July 2009). "Giving Israel a sporting chance". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  21. ^ Ahren, Raphael (11 December 2010). "The Sportsman Spokesman; Tal Brody, who made history with Maccabi Tel Aviv, talks about his first goodwill ambassador trip to the United States". Haaretz. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  22. ^ Yuval Karni (20 August 2008). "Legendary basketball player Tal Brody to run for Knesset; Former Maccabi Tel Aviv star expected to join Netanyahu's Likud party. 'Instead of whining I would rather take action,' he says". Ynet. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  23. ^ Liat Collins (12 November 1998). "Yisrael Ba'aliya celebrates success in elections". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  24. ^ Bernard J. Shapiro (October 2003). "Tal Brody (1943) – Sports". The Maccabean Online. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  25. ^ Shemer, Nadav (12 July 2009). "Davis Cup / Israel sweeps Russia 3–0 on way to historic semifinal appearance". Haaretz. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  26. ^ Zeʼev Chafets (1986). Heroes and hustlers, hard hats and holy men: inside the new Israel. Morrow. ISBN 0-688-04337-2. Retrieved 30 March 2011. Tal Brody.
  27. ^ Thomas L. Friedman (1995). From Beirut to Jerusalem. Macmillan. ISBN 0-385-41372-6. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  28. ^ a b c d Allon Sinai (4 May 2008). "Sporting Heroes for 60 Years: No. 4 Tal Brody". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Tal Brody". Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  30. ^ a b Daniel Ben-Tal (14 December 2010). "From High Hoops to Home Truths". Shalom Life. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  31. ^ Youcheved Miriam Russo (5 February 2010). "Who is a Hero?". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  32. ^ Tom Segev, Haim Watzman (2003). Elvis in Jerusalem: Post-Zionism and the Americanization of Israel. Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-7288-8. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  33. ^ "Adriatic League Basketball, Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Standings". Eurobasket. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  34. ^ Aristide Economopoulos (3 August 2011). "Nets' Jordan Farmar agrees to deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  35. ^ "Nets' Jordan Farmar Signs With Israeli Team". The New York Times. 3 August 2011.
  36. ^ Sue Ogrocki (15 November 2011). "As union disbands, Cleveland Cavaliers' Omri Casspi signs contract with Israeli team". Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  37. ^ "EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv – Game".
  38. ^ "Tyrese Rice Hits the Game Winner to Send Maccabi to the Euroleague Final!". 17 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  39. ^ "Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins Euroleague Championship". 18 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  40. ^ "Sports Discussions Marred By Hate on Twitter". Access ADL. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  41. ^ "Underdog Maccabi steals title from Real". 19 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  42. ^ "Cavaliers hire David Blatt as head coach". Archived from the original on 2 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  43. ^ "Flamengo down Maccabi to lift Intercontinental Cup".
  44. ^ Janeiro, Por Marcello PiresRio de. "Fla derruba o Maccabi e fatura o maior título de sua história no basquete".
  45. ^ "Maccabi out of the finals after 22 years!". Archived from the original on 18 June 2015.
  46. ^ (9 November 2015). "Guy Goodes sacked by Maccabi".
  47. ^ "Maccabi Tel Aviv announces Zan Tabak as new head coach". Welcome to EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL.
  48. ^ Today, Newsy (2 March 2022). "Euroleague table without Russian clubs: the image of the playoffs is changing dramatically / News".
  49. ^ "New EuroLeague standings: playoff picture changes dramatically".

External links edit