Community bids farewell to ‘Mr Basketball’ Bruce Leonard

Family, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to the late Bruce Leonard, the stalwart of the Grafton sporting community who died on Monday.

Mr Leonard's funeral service was held at the Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton on Saturday morning with a second venue, believed to be at the Grafton PCYC, where a spillover of mourners could watch the service via video livestream.

Grafton Basketball stalwart Bruce Leonard was remembered during a funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton on Saturday (Dec 19, 2020)
Grafton Basketball stalwart Bruce Leonard was remembered during a funeral service at Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton on Saturday (Dec 19, 2020)

 

"He wouldn't want us to be sad, he'd want us to acknowledge the past and acknowledge him for what he has done," John Davidson said during the service.

 

Listen to an extract from the service:

 

"I don't think people realise how much of an impact he has had on a lot of people as a coach. Technically what he does is still out there today such as the one-four-high offensive which he got out of Russia."

John Davidson assists with delivering the eulogy for the late Bruce Leonard.
John Davidson assists with delivering the eulogy for the late Bruce Leonard.

Mr Davidson said that Bruce will be fondly remembered as a mentor, coach, father figure and guru. However, most will never forget his colourful personality.

"Bruce was the nicotine and coffee-stained beard, the trackpants, expletives and with a fearsome glare," Mr Davidson said.

"He was demanding, impossible at times, with a big booming voice. But it was all a smokescreen; he was the softest big bear I'd ever met underneath, you just had to get through the gruffness."

Bruce died aged 79.
 

MORE MEMORIES OF BRUCE LEONARD

GALLERY: Bruce Leonard pavilion named (2012)

Basketball pioneer honoured by Hall of Fame induction

Pavilion honours our basketball stalwart



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