As Leopards prepare for their first game under their new name of Oaklands Wolves, we were shocked to learn that the Brentwood Centre has closed.
The Brentwood Centre was Leopards’ spiritual home. While it could be argued that accolade should belong to London Arena, we were only there for the first five years of the original club. The old Leopards finished life at the Brentwood Centre, the new Leopards were formed by people who wanted to bring basketball back there. And when we could no longer use it regularly over the last couple of years it hastened the end of Leopards as we knew it.
A slightly more personal look back at the Brentwood Centre.
We had some fantastic memories there. Winning the league with Youngblood in 2015 with me, Tracy and Roger lugging more and more seats in, beating Giants in the BBL Trophy, Bob Donewald riding in on a motorbike and chucking a bag of practice balls all over the court after being ejected against SharksBeating Towers there in the final home for the original club, a couple of other wins against Towers in front of capacity crowds. That first home game for the new Leopards when we beat the all-stars of London United, parading the National Cup there after stunning the world in our second season, and those big, big games where we showed the NBL how to stage a game and packing the court out with coaching sessions before games.
It was often incredibly hard work there, but when it went well it really felt like we’d achieved something more than just staging a basketball game. .
We hope that CEO Roger Davinson – who is one of the reasons that the name of Leopards lasted for 25 years and the legacy of them still exists – and the Centre’s staff are able to find employment. We also hope our old home can be saved in some form. Brentwood – or the south east in general – doesn’t need any more flats. It needs more basketball courts