Basketball England is saddened to learn of the passing of John Atkinson.
A well-liked and revered basketball historian, John was also a respected statistician that covered a number of high-profile events both domestically and internationally.
Initially based around the West Midlands, John was involved with the sport for over half a century as he also spent a length spell with Crystal Palace, pioneering an approach to basketball statistics that is still used in the game today.
His attendance at FIBA events, including EuroBasket, stretched across a number of decades and he was a familiar face to many in the sport across Europe.
He also avidly collected and documented research and statistics from as early as the 1930s spanning through to modern day.
During the mid-2000s, the man affectionately known as “Statkinson” moved to Spain, briefly returning to the UK in 2012 to take up a role as a statistician at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Working in partnership with University of Worcester and fellow statistician Jenny Collins, John co-founded the National Basketball Heritage Centre in 2015 and donated his work to the University.
The collection officially opened in 2016 and the centre now houses the biggest collection of basketball literature in the United Kingdom, with everything from scoresheets, box score statistics, magazines, newspapers, clippings, media guides, year books, programs, and memorabilia, dating as far back as 1947.
There has been an outpouring of condolences across social media for John, who was a much-loved man across the sport:
Russell Bell, British Basketball Federation director and long-time member with Crystal Palace, said:
“I’m so sad to hear of John’s passing.
“John was one of the first guys in the UK to focus on game stats, travelling with Crystal Palace, England and GB teams to provide invaluable information for coaches.
“His attention to detail was formidable as was his dedication to the sport.”
Former England and GB international Paul Stimpson added:
“I am so sad and very shocked to read about the passing of John ‘Statkinson’.
“He was the encyclopedia of British Basketball. When it came to statistics and facts, no one had more data or knowledge. He was the key person when British Basketball wanted to develop a legacy for their sport.
“He was forever with us at Crystal Palace throughout my career there. I was also fortunate to see him through my work at FIBA at EuroBaskets and World Championships.
“He was the true encyclopedia of British Basketball.”
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