Hapoel Tel Aviv
Hapoel Tel Aviv logo
The Reds
The Red Devils
LeaguesIsraeli Premier League
Founded1935; 87 years ago (1935)
ArenaDrive in Arena
LocationTel Aviv, Israel
Team colorsRed, White
CEOArye Mendel
PresidentRami Cohen
General managerIdan Plada
Head coachDanny Franco
Team captainBar Timor
OwnershipHapoel Ussishkin
Supporters trust
Championships5 Israeli Championships
4 Israeli State Cups
Retired numbers1 (15)

Hapoel Tel Aviv Basketball Club (Hebrew: מועדון כדורסל 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 plays in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, and the EuroCup Basketball.[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, which was socialist and mostly Ashkenazi.[3][4][5][6] The 15 years following the foundation of the Israeli national league in 1954 were the golden age in the club's history. During that time, it won most of its trophies.[4] However, since then the club has failed to repeat its past success and has watched as its bitter city rival, Maccabi Tel Aviv, beat them constantly in the race to trophies and European glory.

In 1980 the club inaugurated its home venue of Hapoel Arena at Ussishkin Street in the north of Tel Aviv in place of the open court that Hapoel had used for home games since 1953.[4]Fall from Glory 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 were considered among the most fanatic in Israeli sports, contributed to Ussishkin being 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 owned by 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.[4] The result of this was an immediate deterioration in the club's stability, which led to relegation to the second league in 1996–97, 1998–99, and 2005–06.[4] During this period the club also conceded its most humiliating defeat of all time at the hands of local rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv by a staggering 54 points. This was part of a 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

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 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. Hapoel Tel Aviv won the first game in convincing fashion, leading by as much as 25 points late in the second half. Mike 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. 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. Afterward, 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 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.

2005–06 season

In a controversial decision, Hapoel Tel Aviv decided to hold its home matches at Yad Eliyahu Arena. With its 10,383-seat capacity it had been recognized for years to be the home of rivals Maccabi Tel Aviv. The decision followed 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 contributing to this decision was a change in policy of local police and municipal authorities. They 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.[7] The move was opposed by the club's fans.[5] The owner in return announced the club's fans to be "Hooligans who oppose progress" and announced the club would try to seek new fans.[citation needed]

Although the team 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.[citation needed]

Hapoel Usishkin period (2007–2010)

Hapoel Usishkin logo
Hapoel Usishkin logo
Willy Workman

Hapoel Ussishkin, the new fan-owned and run team, was founded in July 2007 and registered in the Israeli Liga Bet Dan District (fifth tier),[8] by supporters of Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C. following the club's relegation to the Israeli third tier, after years characterized by lack of financial support by the club's owner Shaul Eizenberg and poor management, which led it to bankruptcy, and finally relegation to the fourth tier, and the demolition of the Ussishkin Arena.[5] In December 2009 the original men's senior team announced its disbandment[9] followed by the fans team's trust buying the rights to Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C. brand through a third party. The name change was approved by the supporter trust in the following months,[10] with the team promotion for the 2010–11 national league season.

2007–2008 season

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

2008–2009 season

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

2009–2010 season

Before the 2009–2010 season started, it was decided that Hapoel Ussishkin would not play in the same district as Hapoel Tel Aviv, which played 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

Raviv Limonad

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 1,800 registered paying members as of May 2011.[11][3] The admission fee to the trust was 300 NIS as of May 2011. Besides voting rights in the trust's general assemblies, it also provides discount prices for club services such as a season ticket.

The club holds elections for the club's board every two years. In the second election 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)

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 businessman, 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, therefore returning to the top tier after six years, and being the first fan-owned club in Israel to participate in a top-tier league.

Tamir Blatt

In 2014–17, Tamir Blatt played for the team. In March 2016, NBA star Nate Robinson signed with Hapoel for the remainder of the season.[12] 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 most points scored in a Playoff game since 1985.[13]


In its first season. the ticket price was set at 15 NIS. Since the majority of fans ceased to attend the old team's games, the average attendance in Hapoel Usishkin 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 1,000.


Current roster

Hapoel Tel Aviv roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Age
F 1 United States Cameroon Tokoto, JP 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 28 – (1993-09-15)15 September 1993
PG 6 Israel Beni, Gil 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) 23 – (1998-10-27)27 October 1998
F 8 Israel Amsalem, Lotan 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 20 – (2001-11-19)19 November 2001
G 10 Israel Timor, Bar (C) 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) 84 kg (185 lb) 30 – (1992-03-02)2 March 1992
G/F 13 United States Young, James 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 98 kg (216 lb) 26 – (1995-08-16)16 August 1995
C 20 Israel Zalmanson, Idan 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 113 kg (249 lb) 27 – (1995-04-18)18 April 1995
PG 23 Israel Gol, Ofek 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in) 19 – (2003-04-23)23 April 2003
PF 35 Israel Dror, Avner 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) 18 – (2003-12-28)28 December 2003
PF 41 Israel Ginat, Tomer 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 98 kg (216 lb) 27 – (1994-11-07)7 November 1994
F 51 Israel Shiffer, Gidi 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 19 – (2003-06-18)18 June 2003
G 69 United States Brown, J'Covan 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 92 kg (203 lb) 32 – (1990-02-14)14 February 1990
PG United States Munford, Xavier 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 78 kg (172 lb) 30 – (1992-06-01)1 June 1992
F/C United States Horton, Chris 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 102 kg (225 lb) 28 – (1994-06-29)29 June 1994
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
  • Israel Barak Lederer
  • Israel Ido Levit

  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured

Updated: August 13, 2022

Depth chart

Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2
C Chris Horton Idan Zalmanson
PF Tomer Ginat JP Tokoto Lotan Amsalem
SF James Young Travis Warech Eyal Harel
SG J'Covan Brown Bar Timor
PG Xavier Munford Gil Beni

Source: basket.co.il

Players of the Year

Matan Naor

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

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.

Season by season

Season Tier Division Pos. State Cup Other cups European competitions
2001–02 2 National League 1st Quarterfinalist
2002–03 1 Premier League 7th Semifinalist 4 Champions Cup QF 11–7
2003–04 2nd Semifinalist 3 Europe League 3rd 14–5
2004–05 2nd Quarterfinalist 3 Europe League EF 8–8
2005–06 5th Quarterfinalist 3 EuroCup RS 2–4
2006–07 2 National League 14th Eightfinalist
2007–08 5 Liga Bet 1st
2008–09 4 Liga Alef 1st
2009–10 3 Liga Artzit 1st
2010–11 2 National League 2nd Semifinalist
2011–12 1st Quarterfinalist Balkan League SF 8–3
2012–13 1 Premier League 8th Eightfinalist
2013–14 5th Semifinalist League Cup QF
2014–15 7th Quarterfinalist League Cup SF
2015–16 8th Eightfinalist League Cup SF
2016–17 10th Eightfinalist League Cup QF
2017–18 5th Quarterfinalist League Cup QF
2018–19 8th Quarterfinalist 3 Champions League QR1 1–1
2019–20 QF Eightfinalist League Cup QF
2020–21 10th Quarterfinals Balkan League 2RPO 3 Champions League QR1 0–1
2021–22 QF Finalist League Cup QF

Managerial history

Danny Franco
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
2017–2019 Israel Danny Franco
2019–2020 Israel Ariel Beit-Halahmy
2020–present Greece Ioannis Kastritis


Position Name
Chairman Rami Cohen
CEO Arye Mendel
Board Member Abraham Zaidenberg
Team Manager Etay Berger
Spokesperson Etay Berger


Total titles: 9


Israeli League

Israeli Cup


Semifinalist (2): 1979–80, 1987–88
Semifinalist (1): 2003–04

Former managers

See also


  1. ^ "Shlomo Group Arena".
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-09-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b Sport, Politics and Society in the Middle East, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Ultras Hapoel Tel Aviv - Since 1999". www.ultrashapoel.com.
  5. ^ a b c "Fall from Glory". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com.
  6. ^ Galily, Yair (2003). "Playing Hoops in Palestine: The Early Development of Basketball in the Land of Israel, 1935-56". The International Journal of the History of Sport. 20 (1): 143–151. doi:10.1080/714001851. S2CID 145734671 – via www.academia.edu.
  7. ^ Aharoni, Keren (2008-11-20). "The Ten Extinct Places of Tel Aviv" (in Hebrew). Mynet. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  8. ^ "Hapoel Tel Aviv BC". Archived from the original on 2017-02-12. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  9. ^ הפועל ת'א הודיעה רשמית על התפרקותה (in Hebrew)
  10. ^ שינוי שם קבוצת הפועל אוסישקין (in Hebrew)
  11. ^ "Hapoel Tel Aviv BC - TheSportsDB.com". www.thesportsdb.com.
  12. ^ "Nate Robinson agrees to deal with Hapoel Tel Aviv". Sports Illustrated.
  13. ^ Holroyd, Caitlyn. "Watch: Nate Robinson puts up 46 points in Israeli League playoff game". theScore.com.