Even when the Antwerp Diamond Giants started its activities in 1995 when Sobabee merged with powerful Racing Mechelen to bring a top division team to Antwerp for the first time in many years, basketball was been always popular in the second city in Belgium with clubs like Antwerpse, Zaziko, Brabo, Oxaco or Tunnel. In the meantime, Racing Mechelen was a dominant team in Belgium. Founded in 1940, it was seven Belgian League titles from 1965 to 1976. Racing Mechelen, now sponsored by Maes Pils, reched its glory days in the late eighties, when it became a Euroleague regular, as well as the team to beat in its own country. It won its eighth title in 1987, and then added six consecutive trophies from 1989 to 1994 with players like Bill Varner, a young Eric Struelens, Martin Haws, Daniel Herman, Jacques Stas, Kurt Portmann, Dirk Snyders or Marc Deheneffe. In those year, the club registered resounding Euroleague wins against Barcelona, Aris, Partizan, Benetton Treviso or Real Madrid, among others. Racing Basket Antwerpen (RBA) was born before the start of the 1995-96 season. RBA soon found great success, winning the Belgian League title in 2000 led by Roger Huggins and Louis Rowe and adding a Belgian Cup trophy that very same season. Slow years have followed, as the team failed to reach the Belgian League semifinals for six consecutive years until last season, when broke with its recent past to start a new era. Antwerp won the Belgian Cup, therefore earned a ULEB Cup spot, and reached the Belgian League semifinals with players like Len Matela, Mladen Sekuralac, Ed Norvell or Gur Shelef. As such, the Antwerp Diamond Giants face their biggest challenge in many years, facing some of the best teams in European basketball in its ULEB Cup debut.