Jo Leedham has called time on one of the most extraordinary careers in British basketball history.

It was a decision that had been widely expected since the end of what turned out to be her last campaign concluded with victory in last month’s WBBL Playoff final with London Lions.

Still, no less sadder. Or momentous. An era over. With a legend secure and with a legacy underlined by universal admiration from peers and foes alike, both for her labours on the court and for her passionate advocacy of British basketball off it.

The London 2012 Olympian, among the greats, ending this leg of a journey that began in Cheshire, took her to America and then to various, successful stops within Europe as one of only a handful of Brits ever to lift a European club trophy from her spell in France with Bourges.

Plus glorious nights with Great Britain that were capped with a run to the semi-finals of EuroBasket Women 2019 and a spot in the subsequent Tokyo Olympic qualifiers where GB fell just short in what turned out to be the talismanic Leedham’s international bow.

“So many ups & downs,” she said, in an Instagram post. “So many trophies, cups & Championships won ( & some lost too).

“So many amazing teammates & friends who have crossed my path, & I am lucky that some have stayed. Thank You all.

“So many memories. So many unbelievable moments that i never thought could happen, 3000pt scorer, WNBA draftee, Olympian, EuroCup Champion, EuroLeague player for eight seasons and many more… So many countries travelled and lived in.”

Now a mother of a daughter who will, one day, re-visit many of those historic highlights online, Leedham is widely expected to go into coaching, most likely in the USA where she has married and settled down.

Part of the Clan of three basketballing daughters, mentored by parents who backed them all every step of the way.

“To my family, you’re all amazing,” she added. “None of this is possible without you. We never could’ve imagined this career in a million years.

“My career is special and pretty damn amazing but through all of this, my parents were the ones who really showed how amazing they are.This wouldn’t even exist without your support and sacrifice. Thank you for keeping me humble, hungry & teaching me to never settle. You guys are the real MVPs.”

Leedham earned 91 caps for her country, ranking fifth all-time amongst women’s players, after making her debut in 2006 against Norway.

She ends her career as the all-time leading scorer amongst all GB men’s and women’s players, with over 1,200 points scored.

“One the greats of our game,” Lions coach Mark Clark said.

Pound for pound, perhaps none greater.

Photo: Ahmedphotos

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