Al-Riyadi Club Basketball Achievements

Al-Riyadi Club is the only team in Lebanon to win the Lebanese Basketball Championship 23 times. Riyadi was crowned Champion of Lebanon in the seasons of: 1949/50, 1950/51, 1951/52, 1952/53, 1953/54, 1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1967/68, 1970/71, 1972/73, 1992/93, 1994/95, 1996/97, 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010, and 2010/2011. The Champs won the Lebanese Cup three times and that was in 2006, 2007, and 2008, keeping in mind that this tournament was not held every year. In 1998, Riyadi won the West Asian Basketball Championship that took place inJordan. Thus the Club qualified to the Asian Basketball Championship that took place in Malaysia the same year. Riyadi was able to win the Bronze Medal through a powerful and thrilling performance by the yellow players. Riyadi's Michael Cumberland was nominated Best Player in Asia, while the team’s Captain Walid Dumyati clinched the Best Point Guard title in Asia. This was the first time, ever, that a Lebanese team finishes in the top 3 positions in Asia's Championship.

Riyadi is also the only team to be crowned Champion of the Arabs for 5 times of which 4 were in a row. Riyadi clinched and preserved the title while competing with the best teams in the Arab worlds and was crowned Champion of the Arabs in 2005 in Dubai, in 2006 in Rabat, in 2007 in Jaddah, and in 2009 in Beirut. Riyadi has also won Housameddine Hariri (RIP) International Tournament eleven times in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011. In this recurring annual tournament, Riyadi competed against some of the strongest teams in the Arabic world.

As for Asia, Riyadi was crowned Champion of Asia in 2011, as it defeated the strongest teams in the continent, including Mahram from Iran in the final game.

Riyadi has also clinched Damascus International Tournament cup in 2004 after overcoming some of the best Arab teams in the region.

Riyadi was crowned Champion of Dubai International Tournament the 16th which was held in Dubai, UAE during the month of January, 2005. The Lebanese heroes scored 6 wins in 6 very tough and competitive games, and collected most of the tournament's prizes. A year later in 2006, Riyadi preserved the title by scoring a historical 45 point win over Fast Link of Jordan in the semi-final (115-70) and a 20 pt win over the Egyptian Al Jazeera (83-63) in the final. Ismail Ahmad was named MVP of the tournament, Tony Madison best scorer and best 3 pt shooter, Ali Mahmoud best point guard and Fouad Abou Chakra best coach.

On May 1st, 2005, Coached by Fouad Abou Chakra and his assistant Tygran Gyokechian, Al Riyadi was crowned Champions of Lebanon for the 2004-2005 season after 8 years of waiting. The team broke a record by winning 25 times in 25 games, to become the first team in the recent Lebanese Basketball History to win the championship without any loss! In the final game, Al Riyadi smashed Sagesse in Manara by 40 pts (112-72), and ended the series a by clean sweep of (3-0). Al Riyadi was represented by Ismail Ahmad, Tony Madison, Ali Mahmoud, Joe Vogel, Ghaleb Reda, Mohamad Ibrahim, Ali Fakhreddine, Omar Turk, Richi Halleet, Mohamad Hantas, Robert Bou Dagher, Hussein Tawbi, Abdullah Hijazi, Mazen Mneimneh, and Hasan Lakkis.

Few days after they were crowned undefeated champions of Lebanon for the season 2004-2005, Al-Riyadi team headed to Dubai, UAE and participated in Hamdan Ben Rashed Tournament which was held during the month of May 2005. Al Riyadi, once again undefeated, was crowned Champion of The Tournament after overcoming Saba from Iran (99-83). Tony Madison was nominated MVP and best scorer of the tournament, while Ismail Ahmad earned the best rebounder title.

The same dream continued its success in the 2004-2005 season, and on May 26, 2005, Al Riyadi proved to be the strongest team in the Arab world by winning the Pan Arab Tournament cup over Fast Link from Jordan (87-82), in al Nasr Stadium in Dubai, UAE. This cup is very valuable as it is the first time that Riyadi wins the Arabic championship. This tournament showed the first loss for Riyadi in more than 450 days, against the Fast Link in the second round, however, Riyadi who managed to revenge in the final, will enjoy its 66 straight wins and no losses mouth dropping record for a very long time! With that win, Riyadi would have successfully finished the 2004-2005 season by winning 6 out of 6 tournaments (Damascus tournament, Hariri tournament, Rashed Ben Maktoum tournament, Lebanese Championship, Hamdan Ben Rashed tournament, and finally the Pan Arab tournament).

The team continued its success in the 2005-2006 season and broke yet another Lebanese championship record by stretching its winning streak to 44 wins without any loss in almost 2 years; 23 months to be exact, ever since the 2003-2004 season when Riyadi lost to Blue Stars on April 7, 2004. Riyadi's winning streak in the league ended on March 7, 2006 when the team lost to Sagesse for the first time after an 8-0 record against the archrivals in the past 2 years.

In 2006, Al Riyadi preserved the Lebanese Championship title for the 2005/2006 season with minor changes in the roster highlighted by the assistance of the new import Calvin Warner who temporary replaced Captain Tony Madison in the semi-finals and finals. Al Riyadi swept off Sagesse in the final 3-0 with the first game ending with 23 pts difference, the second with 29 pts difference, and the 3rd with 22 pts difference.

Also in 2006, on April 22nd to be exact, the team and for the first time in its history won the Lebanese Cup after easily beating Sagesse (86-69) in the final which was held in the Sports City, to clinch the doublet of Lebanese Cups and strengthens its position as the strongest team on the Lebanese soil.

Finally, none of the Arab teams was strong enough to steal the Champion of the Arabs title from Riyadi in 2006 as they all collapsed one after another when they had to face the Yellow Giant in the Pan Arab Cup held in Morocco. With that achievement, Riyadi now has 2 Pan Arab Cups under its belt.

In November 2006, right before the 2006-2007 Lebanese League kicked off, the FLBB requested from the Champion of Lebanon, Al-Riyadi to participate in King Abdallah's Tournament in Jordan instead of the Lebanese National Team who at the time was not ready for such an intense competition. The FLBB thought that Riyadi players will preserve Lebanon's image and raise its name high among countries participating in the tournament including Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Kosovo, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Sure enough, the Lebanese heroes were up to the challenge and brought the cup back to Lebanon after beating the Egyptian National Team in the final game (70-68).

In 2007, Riyadi's dream team continued its success by preserving the cups of both the Lebanese Championship and the Lebanese Cup in a flawless season where the team did not incure any loss and was able to beat Blue Stars twice in each of the final games of the two tournaments. Ace Custis, who signed with Riyadi for the finals period, helped the team along with the second import and Captain of the team, Ismail Ahmad. However, and just fot the record, the star of the final series was Rami Akiki who replaced the injured Ali Mahmoud in the first two games and shined from behind the arc scoring 7 threes in the first game and 5 threes in the second one, and helped his team advance 2-0 in the final series against the Blues. Right before the kick off of the 2007-2008 season, Riyadi claimed Housameddine Hariri tournament the 17th in Saida by beating Al Ahli Egypt (85-80). This tournament introduced Kenny Satterfield as Riyadi's new import player for the season. Ismail Ahmad claimed the MVP title of the tournament.

The 2008 season kicked off, and Riyadi headed to Dubai in January'08 to participate in Dubai's International Tournament. The 2008 version was quiet different this time. Some of the best teams in the region took part, such as Saba Iran (Champions of Asia), Zein Jordan (previously known as fast link), Al Jalaa from Syria, Sagesse from Lebanon, and Riyadi Lebanon (Champion of the Arabs), in addition to many other high caliber teams. Sports followers swore that this year's version was tougher than the Asian cup itself. Riyadi introduced for the first time in many years, the Lebanese Tiger Fadi Al Khatib, on their main roster. Khatib, who started his basketball career with Riyadi in his youth, joined his maternal club and assisted the team in claiming the title of Dubai International tournament after beating the strongest teams in the region one after the other, and by overcoming Zain Jordan in the final game by 2 pts (77-75). Khatib signed with Riyadi after the deadline of signing Lebanese players, which means that he will be able to participate with the champions of Lebanon in international tournaments only and not in the Lebanese championship for the 2007-2008 season. Khatib claimed the MVP title of the tournament, Vogel was the best center, Captain Ismail Ahmad was the best rebounder, and Hasan Shaker was honored with the best administrator. Riyadi's second import player in the tournament was Scotty Thurman That was the 3rd time that Riyadi wins Dubai's tournament.

In April of 2008, Riyadi knocked Sagesse out of the Lebanese Cup championship in the semi-final game and then sweeped Champville off in the final game by 26 pts (107-81). That was the first time Riyadi and Champville meet in the final of the Lebanese Cup, and interesting enough, the last time Champville won the title, it was under Riyadi's current coach Fouad Abou Chakra. Abou Chakra won this tournament four times: once with Champville in 2004, and three times with Riyadi in 2006, 2007, and 2008. With that win, Riyadi was the undefeated holdeR of the Lebanese Cup for three years in a row.In June 2008, Riyadi and Mouttahid met for the first time in the finals of the Lebanese Championship for the 2007-2008 season. Riyadi had qualified to the final series after overcoming Blue Stars (3-0), and Mouttahid reached it by knocking out Sagesse (3-2). Fouad Abou Chakra's men were up to the expectations in Manara in game one and scored an easy win (81-69). Mouttahid scored a suprise in game 2 in Tripoli and equlizing the secore. Game 3 in Manara was a piece of cake of the Champs, and game four in Tripoli was the night when the Champs ended the series (3-1) by beating Mouttahid (71-66) and were crowned Champions of Lebanon for the 4th time in a row, and the 20th time in the club's history... a record that no other club is even close from breaking ! The 2008 / 2009 basketball season kicked off in November as usual with Housameddine Hariri tournament in which Riyadi appeared for the first time in the season with the aim of preserving its title as undefeated Champion of this arabic tournament. The 2008/2009 Riyadi team introduced Nate Johnson as the new import for the team along with Ismail Ahmad. Mohamad Ibrahim was also back to the team after spending few years in the USA studying and playing in the NCAA. the Lebanese MVP and Tiger Fadi Al Khatib was there in the Yellow Jersey, along with Ali Mahmoud, Omar Turk, Hussein Tawbi, Ali Fakhreddine and many new youngsters. Riyadi, undefeated, faced Sala from Morocco in the final game and scored a win in over-time (73-71) which crowned the Yellows as Champions of the tournament for the 10th time in history.

The 2008/2009 Lebanese Basketball Championship was very exciting despite an unfortunate conspiracy against Riyadi that pushed the team to lose the efforts of its captain Ismail Ahmad and Tiger Fadi Al-Khatib. Despite all the attempts "outside of the court" to prohibit Riyadi from winning the Lebanese Basketball Championship, our Heroes were stronger than others wished for, and the team knocked out Sagesse from the Semi Final and beat Mouttahid in the Finals (3-1) to be crowned as the Kings of the Lebanese Basketball for the 5th time in a row, in the absense of 2 key players.

In May 2009, and just a few days after being crowned champions of Lebanon for the 21st time, Riyadi hosted the Pan Arab Cup championship in Beirut. The Arab tournament which was named after the late Lebanese martyr PM Rafik Hariri, was a strong one, where some of the strongest Arabic teams were ready to win the Championship. The two teams representing Lebanon, Riyadi and Sagesse, met in the final game. Riyadi was aiming to win the prestegious title for the 4th time (a record) while Sagesse was hoping for a 3rd title. Once again, Riyadi proved to be the strongest team in the Arab world and knocked out Sagesse (60-49) and claimed the cup and title of the tournament. Captain Ismail Ahmas was named MVP of the Arabs and Riyadi's Tiger Fadi Al-Khatib as the tournament's best scorer.

In 2009/2010, Riyadi kicked off the Championship league with their eye on the title, and they got what they aimed for. Our Heroes were crowned Champions of Lebanon for the 6th time in a row, after beating the all star Champville in the final (3-0) after a tough season. Champville was represented by ex-Riyadi stars such as Fadi Al-Khatib, Tony Madison, and Ghaleb Reba, and were coach by non other than Ghassan Sarkis. However, Ali Mahmoud, Lionel Cooper, CJ Giles, Joe Vogel, Omar Turk and co. managed to finish on top, 3 times in a row, (87-73), (77-74) and (84-80), giving Riyadi the unprecedented accomplishment.In May 2010, Riyadi was crowned Champion of the Arabs for the 5th time (equalizing Al Ittihad Egypt's record) by outplaying the Lebanese Al Mouttahid Club in the final game (93-73). The Arab Championship was held in Alexandria, Egypt with the participation of some of the best Arabic teams around. Also in May 2010, right after winning the Arab Championship, Riyadi's short breath prohibited it from winning the Asian Cup. Our Lebanese team finished third for the third time in its 4 participations in this tournament after losing to Mahram from Iran in the semi-final and then beating Applied Sciences of Jordan 82-78.

In May 2011, Lebanese giants Al Riyadi Beirut reclaimed the No. 1 position in WABA club competition clinching the 2011 WABA League after Syria's Al Jalaa last Thursday forfeited the fifth and decisive game of the Finals series. The game was scheduled to be played on neutral territory at the Jordanian capital of Amman. Riyadi had won back-to-back 85-77 and 101-85 to level the series after Jalaa had taken a 2-0 lead winning 91-77 and 79-67 in the first two games. In an anti-climax of sorts, Jalaa chose to forfeit Game 5. Riyadi, thus became the No. 1 team of WABA after a gap of two years, having won the title last in 2008 in Tehran when it was played as a tournament. They had also won the title in 1998 when Jordan were the hosts.

As for the the 2011 Lebanese Basketball championship season, it was not an easy one, yet Riyadi still prevailed and was able to achieve its 7th Lebanese Championship title in a row also in May 2011. Fouad Abou Chakra became the only coach in Lebanon to win that title 7 times consequently! The final series faced Riyadi with Champville, represented by Fadi Al Khatib, Karl Sarkis and Mazen Mneimneh. Champville, lead by Coach Ghassan Sarkis, was unable to match the Heroes from Manara lead by Ismail Ahmad, Nate Johnson, Joe Vogel, Ali Mahmoud, Jean Abdelnour and Omar Turk who claimed the final series 3-0 to be crowned, yet again, the Champions of Lebanon.

In June 2011, and after successfully winning West Asia's tournament (WABA), Al Riyadi headed to Manila, Philippines where it participated in the 22nd Asian Championship. Our heroes, represented by Fadi Al Khatib, Ismail Ahmad, Omar Turk, Mohamad Ibrahim, Ali Mahmoud, Jean Abdelnour, Loren Woods, William fares, Rodrigue Akel, Ali Kanaan, and Amir Saoud scored a 7 win streak in the tournament, meeting in the final game with Mahram from Iran. Mahram was hoping to clinch its 3rd consecutive Asian Championship title, however, Al Riyadi had a different plan, and the Lebanese Champions ended the game (91-82) and thus were crowned Champions of Asia for the first time ever! Fadi Al Khatib was the best scorer in the game with 41 points, followed by Jean Abdelnour with 21 pts. Mahram from Iran finished second in the tournament, while Al Rayyan from Qatar was ranked 3rd. This was also the first time that Coach Fouad Abou Chakra wins this very prestigious tournament.

After the summer break, Riyadi kicked off its preparations for the 2011/2012 season by participating in the Housameddine Hariri Annual Tournament. The Champions of Lebanon and Asia was able to defeat Al Ahli from Egypt in the final came by 3 pts (94-91). Riyadi claimed the title of the tournament after unsuccessful attempts in 2009 and 2010.