Al-Akhbar published an interview today with FLB President Akram Halabi, where he stated and I quote “that all the victories and accomplishments our national team has achieved were thanks to foreign or naturalized players, that we always used to crash out of the first rounds, and that there aren’t that many achievements to be proud of in Lebanese Basketball”.

ينبغي ألا نضحك على أنفسنا. ما هي إنجازات الرياضة اللبنانية؟ حتى ما حققته لعبة كرة السلة من تأهلات الى بطولات كأس العالم جاء عبر لاعبين مجنسين أو «مستردين» لجنسيتهم لم يجدوا لهم مكاناً في منتخبات بلدانهم الأخرى، فجاؤوا الى لبنان. كنا نتأهل ونخرج من الدور الأول. لم نكن نبني كرة سلة للمستقبل. كنا نبحث عن إنجازات سريعة.
وبرأيي، الأساس يبدأ من وزارة الشباب والرياضة. فالأخيرة ليس من مهمتها الاجتماع مع المؤسسات الكشفية وإضاءة الشموع وتوزيع المساعدات المالية على الأندية لأسباب سياسية، وعبر علاقات شخصية. مهمة وزارة الشباب والرياضة وضع الأسس القانونية لتطوير الرياضة في لبنان.

This is coming from the president of the Lebanese Basketball Federation, a federation that has failed over the years in properly supporting the national team, that never set a proper strategy to promote local talents and has failed repeatedly in making the league a profitable and sustainable one. I’ve been posting about basketball since 2010 and not one president has taken a concrete initiative to improve the sport.

The worst part about his statement is his complete disregard of the efforts and sacrifices that Lebanese players have shown throughout the past 20 years or more, despite a lack of funding, support, and a very lousy management. Players like Fadi el Khatib, Rony Fahed, Elie Rustom, Wael Arakji, Elie Mechantaf and many others played their hearts out for Lebanon and the least they deserve is a simple thank you.

Such utter disrespect and scandalous behavior cannot go unnoticed. Halabi should resign immediately if he has any decency or be removed from his position by the Sports Minister if he has the authority to do so. Such statements are insulting to the players, the fans and every basketball lover in Lebanon.

Check out what Fadi El Khatib wrote on his insta in response to Halabi:

FANS! I want to apologize to you today. It seems that I’m a bluff among others, according to a certain man.
So, it looks like our 20-year basketball history was a “short-term” achievement and Lebanese players’ success story never actually existed. It’s pure illusion.
If I understand correctly: the crowded stands at each match, the millions of Lebanese around the world taped in front of their TV screens, the fans’ screams at each of our passages, the victories won at national and international level like in France, and above all the people’s euphoria at each basketball match worthy of a football world cup.
All while positioning the national team at number 21 worlwide and lifting the Lebanese flag higher, victory after victory.
Well, SURPRISE! Apparently dear fans, we’ve all been dreaming.
No problem, it’s so beautiful to dream!
Unfortunately, this dream is the nightmare, the obsession and the source of unhealthy jealousy that tortures another.
You can hate as much as you want.
Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours shine any brighter.