Born to Anis Kanaan and Amira El-Fares of Beirut, Lebanon, he immigrated to Canada. He played in Vanier College (Ville Saint Laurent, Quebec) and College Montmorency (Laval, Quebec). He played in the NCAA for 4 years with the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
He played four years at Georges-Vanier high school in the Province of Quebec, Canada. He achieved Most Valuable Player as a senior. He averaged 2.3 block shots a game as a senior.
Ali played for the University of Massachusetts Lowell. for four years, a Division II school who is in the Northeast 10 conference. He played four years for the Riverhawks. He played his freshman year for them during the 06-07 season where he averaged 3.8 points and 4.0 rebounds a game during his freshman season at 6'9.
In 2010 after the 2010 FIBA World Championship and after graduating from college Ali became pro and he signed with Lebanese powerhorses Riyadi in the Lebanese Basketball League due to A list Ali was loaned to Antranik SC in exchange of Charbel El Sokn. Ali will play for Riyadi in international tournaments.
Ali Kanaan became a member of the Lebanon national basketball team, with whom he debuted with at the FIBA Asia Championship 2009. At the tournament, he averaged 2.2 points and 3.2 rebounds for the fourth-placed Lebanese team.