Coaches pay tribute to retiring Jo Leedham-Warner
One of British Basketball’s all-time greats, former Olympian, EuroBasket veteran and FIBA EuroCup winner Jo Leedham-Warner, has called time on her illustrious career.
You can read the full story regarding Jo’s retirement here, and watch our extended interview with her reflecting on her decision to hang up her boots and call time on an incredible career. Social media has been flooded with tributes to one of the all-time greats, and we received these very special tributes below from some of Jo’s former coaches.
“This is a very special and emotional moment for British Basketball as our best player ever, Jo Leedham-Warner, has decided to retire. With no doubt, Jo has been one of the best players that I’ve ever coached, and it has been an honour to be able to do that.
“We have all enjoyed watching her on the court, her outstanding understanding of the game, her speed, her ability to score – amazing, what a fantastic player. Above all, she has been a great role model for the younger generations – a model of ambition. She has shown if you have a goal or dream, you can achieve that if you persevere, if you fight hard and sacrifice to achieve that goal, which is a great lesson for younger players.
“Thank you Jo, for everything you have done, and I hope that now in whatever role you have next you keep helping British Basketball, British women, all women in general, transmitting this great spirit that you have. Positive glasses, and good luck!”
“I still remember your arrival in Bourges in 2013 and your first training session with us. You started slowly, almost discreetly and from the first situation of opposition, you revealed yourself. I immediately understood that you were a competitor who would never let go for 40 minutes.
“You are a fighter, an example of hard work and rigor, a leader, a performer whose sole objective is to belong to a collective and win all competitions. How lucky for a coach to have a player like you!
“The statistics speak in your favour in all areas, whether in defence on the best opposing player, in your ability to intercept, your presence on the rebound, or in your offensive contribution. Your efficiency on both sides of the court is the specificity of very great players.
“How many times has your fighting spirit, your determination and your humility tipped the score in our favour? I liked all these qualities, as well as your endearing personality, and I am proud of what we accomplished together. Small dedication to your parents, you inherited their enthusiasm and fervour! I wish you the best with your little family and I hope to see you again soon.
“It has been great to have Jo here in London for her last season. I was there as the GB National Coach when she went off to College and fortunate enough to coach her for a short period, and I had the great privilege of working with FIBA and covering many of her performances with Great Britain.
“Her father always reminds me of when GB beat Serbia in 2013, when I was lucky enough to commentate the game, and I came out with the quote that every time Jo touched the basketball for GB that it was great for Great Britain in that game, and it has been just as true for everything she’s done over all those years on the floor for her country.
“Capping it all with a semi-final appearance in Serbia was just a remarkable performance and she was instrumental in helping the team get to that point. Working with Jo on a day-to-day basis this year, I can honestly say I’ve only worked with one other player who has the same drive, determination and absolute professionalism.
“Jo Leedham-Warner ranks with the best that Great Britain has ever produced, and any young player who wants to be a professional should just watch Jo play basketball. It has been 100% fun to work alongside her. She absolutely loves the game of basketball, loves competing, loves winning – it just means so much to her, and if you’re with her in those moments then it means so much to you, too.
“Good luck with your retirement, Jo. Whatever you decide to do I am sure you will be great. It has been a pleasure to get to know you over the years, starting many years ago with the GB U20s. You are a great player, person and teammate.
“GB basketball will definitely miss you – your drive, passion, determination, leadership and spirit will be impossible to replace. You are a warrior and a very special player. I am proud to have been your teammate over the years and humbled to be your friend. Take care and good luck!”