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Pavilion honours our basketball stalwart

Bruce Leonard in front of the Bruce Leonard Pavilion, named in his honour yesterday. Photo JoJo Newby
Bruce Leonard in front of the Bruce Leonard Pavilion, named in his honour yesterday. Photo JoJo Newby

BRUCE Leonard said yesterday he tried to say No to having "something" named after him at the Grafton Indoor Sports Centre when the idea was years ago.

"But some d--- didn't give me a choice," he said in clear reference to basketball stalwart Craig Howe who, in his capacity as Clarence Valley Councillor, pushed for officially recognising Mr Leonard's contribution by naming the original section of the facility the Bruce Leonard Pavilion.

"I'm pretty proud of it, don't get me wrong,' said Mr Leonard who, aside from managing the facility from its opening until 2010, was instrumental in establishing junior and senior state leagues in NSW.

Grafton Basketball Association president Sandra Dahl said Mr Leonard's contribution to the sport went far beyond traditional achievements.

"If a kid could not afford to go away he'd fork out money from his own pocket," Ms Dahl said. "People would be astounded by what he's done ... many people probably think there's the old bloke with the smokes and the coffee and think no more about it."

Bruce Leonard

 President of Country Basketball in 1968, a position he held until the Country Basketball Association was changed to the Country Committee in the late 1980s.

 Instrumental with others in forming the Country Senior Men's and Women's League.

 He had a vision of a junior league in the state's north. It developed into south, west and central leagues and later was incorporated into State Junior League.

 He was a founding director of Northern Australia Junior Basketball Challenge with Queensland .

 He took basketball from the outdoor courts into the old Garden Theatre (Queen and Pound Sts) until it moved to its latest home.

 Many a North Coast and Grafton player owes their promotion to higher levels in basketball, at the Country, State and NBL/WNBL to this man

 He loves a smoke, his plants, a beer, a good yarn and will never surrender his thongs.

 Major force behind the extensions of the current stadium which is now the Grafton Sports Centre

 

This very abridged list of Mr Leonard's career was provided by Grafton Basketball Association.



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