FAB Flournoy is convinced his Newcastle Eagles were so motivated and confident they would have beaten LA Lakers or Miami Heat on the day they lifted the BBL Cup.
With Andrew Thomson compiling a video diary and the Eagles certain they were on the verge of something special, Flournoy is convinced they were unstoppable on January 15. He said: “I would have put us against any team in the BBL or the NBA that day.
“We had such strength and inner calm and belief. I knew we were going to win.”
Flournoy hints there is a deeper reason why the game was so important, but stops short of revealing exactly what it is.
One for the autobiography, presumably.
What he does say is that, for three players at least, it had special significance. He added: “For myself, there was coming back from pneumonia which some had said I wouldn’t be able to do. Then for Joe (Chapman), he had a 90% tear of his Achilles and people said he wouldn’t be able to do it.
“Then for Charles (Smith), it was coming back to win things.
“I don’t think Chuck – that’s what we call him, by the way – has ever received the recognition he deserves in this country.
“For Charles it was a massive moment because the previous year he had almost got us to the final of the play-offs. We had injuries, we had players out, but he played a massive game against Sheffield in the semi-finals and we came up just short.
“He was playing on one leg, which not a lot of people know. This time he wanted to come back and win, which he did.” Another Cup final awaits next month which is just as important, but for a whole clutch of different reasons.
Flournoy said: “It is truly different in January.
“This year I have a mix of experienced and older players and an inexperienced point guard and I feel we have a team which is still learning to win.
“This Cup game is pivotal because it will help to define the identity of this team. It is a very big game.”