Hekmeh or Al-Hikma or Club Sagesse (Arabic: الحكمة; also known as Club Sportif La Sagesse) is a Lebanese sports club based in Beirut. The basketball team was established in 1992, as part of the historic Hekmeh club established in 1943 with mainly the football (soccer) team. The basketball team became far more popular than the initial football team thus making the basketball branch the most popular branch of the club, due to its phenomenal record breaking success since its formation in the early nineties in the newly reformed Lebanese league, the Arab and the FIBA Asian championships.
Al-Hikma in classical Arabic, El-Hekmeh in Lebanese dialect stands for "wisdom", thus also the French alternative name of the club, Sagesse (meaning wisdom in French).
The historical Hekmeh club was founded in Beirut in 1943 under the patronage of the late father Boulos Kik, supported by his excellency late Mgr. Jean Maroun, with affiliation to the Collège de la Sagesse of the Maronite Catholic Church a leading educational institution in Lebanon and the East since 1875 but despite the affiliation with the Sagesse College the club has its own independent administration. The basketball program was founded in 1992.
In 1992 the club was financed by media tycoon also dubbed as the Godfather of Lebanese basketball, president Antoine Choueiri, he wanted a team that will achieve unprecedented success and popularity in a bid to change Lebanese sports history forever and unite all Lebanese behind a successful team that will represent Lebanon and Lebanese basketball in every possible competition on a national and international level.
After the Choueiri takeover in 1992 Hekmeh/Sagesse included on its roster some of the most impactful player names including Lebanese national basketball team legends Elie Mechantaf and Fadi El Khatib ,notable foreigners that at the time were among the elite of foreign basketball players in Asia including ex-NBA players and FIBA world cup participants a high level of players that was never seen before in the Lebanese league and the neighbouring countries and under the management of the most decorated national basketball coach Ghassan Sarkis, a dominant dream team was born taking Lebanese Basketball to new heights, achieving the goals that were set by Choueiri such as the ones mentioned in the previous passage.
Sagesse became one of the most successful basketball clubs in Lebanon and the MENA region with 8 Lebanese Basketball League Championships, 7 Lebanese Basketball Cups, 2 Arab Club Championships, and 3 FIBA Asia Champions Cup titles.. Hekmeh made history as well by being the first Lebanese club to win the Arab Club Championship and the first Lebanese and first Arab club to win the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
Also, Sagesse is the only Arab and only Asian club to ever participate in the basketball club world championship, the McDonald's Championship organized by FIBA and the NBA, it was at the 1999 edition when Sagesse went as the Asian champions. The 1999 McDonald's Championship was the first and only time FIBA Asia was represented in the tournament.
This exceptional participation and the way Sagesse represented Asia at the Mcdonald's Championship in Milano was praised by then Commissioner of the NBA David Stern and by former Secretary General of the FIBA Borislav Stanković among other officials.
In 2012 Sagesse B.C. won a friendly game against Turkish team Galatasaray S.K. during a training camp that the club was holding in Turkey, this was the most significant game and win for a Lebanese team or any team in the region against a European team in recent times.
In the post Choueiri era, from 2004 onwards, which was the last year the team won the Lebanese Championship, they struggled to find consistency at the administrative level despite the involvement of many businessman and political figures, these involvements were seen as well as a possible reason for the club's struggle rather than being helpful gestures; and despite having the finances to build a good team the club is still struggling with debt; compared to the Choueiri era the club has achieved mediocre success with inconsistent overall form through the seasons in spite of reaching many finals in different competitions.
There is often a fierce rivalry between the two strongest teams in a national league, and this is particularly the case in the Lebanese basketball league, where the classical game between Club Sagesse and Riyadi is known as Beirut Derby. From the start of the national league the clubs were seen as successful representatives of two different sides in Lebanon and the two most popular teams in the country. The rivalry reflects what many regard as political and cultural tensions felt between Sagesse and Riyadi and their fans.
The club also holds other less significant rivalries with Champville SC and Tadamon Zouk.Lebanese Basketball League
Champions (8 Times): 1993-94, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999-2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03
Lebanese Basketball Cup
Champions (7 Times): 1993,1998,1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Arab Club Championship
Champions (2 Times): 1998, 1999
FIBA Asia Champions Cup
Champions (3 Times): 1999, 2000, 2004. (Record)
WABA Champions Cup
Champions (3 Times): 2002, 2005, 2006
1999 McDonald's Basketball Club World Championship (Participant)
2001: Damascus International Tournament (champions)
2002: Dubai International Tournament (champions)
2014: Qadisiya International Tournament (champions)
2014: Abu Dhabi International Tournament (champions)
2016: Dubai International Tournament (champions)
1999 Best professional basketball team in Asia.
(Awarded by FIBA Asia known as the Asian Basketball Confederation back then for the first time in 1999 with Sagesse Club as the inaugural winner.)
National Order of the Cedar
Knight in 1999
Officer in 2000
Awarded to the club for its unprecedented success in the Lebanese, Arab and Asian basketball championships that highly contributed into the development and rise of the Lebanese basketball and sports in Lebanon on many levels.
^NBA legend Rony Seikaly was included in the Sagesse club roster for the 1999 Asian Cup however he was unable to play for the team due to physical and technical issues.