Date of birth: 1973
Place of birth: Nebraska (USA)
Joe Vogel can be described as a legend of Lebanese basketball because quite simply, when he played for his adopted National Team, Lebanese basketball was at the peak of its powers. The American born big man was, along with Fadi El Khatib, at the very centre of all good things that happened to Lebanon on the International stage.
Qualification for the last two World Championships in 2002 and 2006 was the highlight amongst other things while at a domestic level, he has continued his career by playing for the last decade on Lebanese soil and winning many trophies and personal accolades during that time – also in the Asian Championships.
A graduate of Colorado State, Vogel was drafted by Seattle Supersonics in 1996 but found himself playing in Turkey for Galatasaray in his first pro-season. It wasn’t long before he found his way to Lebanon and has played for many of the great Lebanese teams including Sagesse, Champville and Al Riyadi Beirut.
Vogel was a highly-flexible player for the national team who had a great skill-set for a centre and shot blocking was his main forte, although he had a full package both in the post and on the perimeter. He could occasionally knock down an open three and his quickness and ability to dunk left many fans on their feet time and time again.
His love for both basketball and also for representing Lebanon is well documented and perhaps in the modern era, best underlined by the fact he did not receive huge payments for his time and efforts but did it for the love. That is why he became a hit with fans – even those originally sceptical about having a naturalised player like him.
He did his best for Lebanon and left every last drop on the court for the Cedar Trees. This is what matters most – even more than the impressive numbers he always posted.
Still playing in the Lebanese league with Al Riyadi, the supporters appreciate the huge contribution he made to the National Team of Lebanon – even if he is originally from Nebraska.