Even as he nears his 42nd birthday, Newcastle Eagles player/coach Fabulous Flournoy has never had any doubts about returning to the court despite sitting out most of last season with a severed Achilles tendon.
In fact, the British basketball legend is anticipating his 14th season in all on Tyneside like a child waiting for Christmas Day, and he is hard at work ahead of the season opener away to the Sheffield Sharks on September 18.
Newcastle will look to retain their domestic sweep of titles that they won last season, and Flournoy wants to be part of the action.
“It never entered my head to quit as a player and it never entered my head to quit as a Player, coach,” Flournoy said. “Although people look at my age and my injury and think this should be it for me as a player.
“I was asked what does it mean for your future at the club? Will I coach or will I play? It might take a while for me to get fully fit but I’ll be ready to play when the time is right. If there is anything that does not feel right then I will address it. As for now my focus is getting back on court and putting together a team that will be competitive and compete at the top.
“To be honest I can’t wait. Last season was fantastic. We deservedly won all four trophies and once again put to rest that the Eagles are too old and not as good as previous seasons. With all that we accomplished last season it’s now in the past. It is time to move on and to create new goals.”
The news comes as most welcome not just for the Eagles but for British basketball in general as there’s no doubting that the BBL is a better, more competitive one when Flournoy is exerting his influential personality around the league’s courts. And with 22 trophies in the last eleven seasons travelling to the North East, Flournoy has a reason to be proud.
But, he wants more.
“To be honest you never get tired of winning, it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” he said. “Work started for this season the minute the final buzzer went in The Playoff Final. At Newcastle we always look forward and not back. That’s part of our success.
“Newcastle Eagles is a great club with great fans and great support behind the scenes. Having the right players is one thing, but the people around the club are instrumental, the sponsors, the staff, the volunteers and fans are the life line of the club and without them it is very difficult to be successful. A family orientated team playing for a family orientated club. Bottom line: Newcastle Eagles are one big family.
And Flournoy will look to start building his roster up next week, as they aim to defend their four domestic titles that they swooped last season.
“I’m excited about the new season as I am for every season and I’m excited about the challenge of putting a side together to challenge and compete at the top. It is always difficult to win silverware and to win all four pieces is amazing, but the question now will be how this season’s team compares to last years.
“Will we be as good or have we peaked? Other teams will be coming after us. And as the off season comes to a close we are seeing announcements from other clubs about signings and future plans. The league is getting stronger every year. This season will be no different and we will defend our legacy as other teams try and create one.”