THE LOCAL basketball community was plunged into mourning on Saturday as news of the passing of Anthony Lewis began circulating across social media.
Lewis, a longstanding member within the basketball landscape, was heavily involved in the development of the sport, especially at community and secondary school levels. He coached both male and female teams at the Morvant Laventille Secondary School for many years, and also served in administration with the Trinidad and Tobago Schools’ Basketball Association (TTSBA).
NBFTT (National Basketball Federation of TT) president Claire Mitchell stated, “Anthony gave his life to basketball even beyond retirement. He played a major role in secondary schools basketball in the north zone and beyond and was always extremely supportive of the north zone adult leagues in the area of officiating.”
A product of the Morvant-Laventille community, “Tony”, as he was fondly known, was an avid basketball participant often acting and serving through volunteerism.
Former national team manager and life-long friend, Albert Lee Young, recalled his childhood interactions with Lewis growing up and his impact on the sport at the grassroot level.
“From his teenage days Tony displayed his passion for the game especially at an administrative level having been a Senior Executive Officer of community team, Morvant Playboys, which he helped progress from third to first division in North Zone Basketball League during the 80s,” Young said.
Chairman of the Basketball Coaches Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Clement also contributed to the many outpourings. “Mr Lewis was a true servant of the sport - coach, referee, table official, administrator, teacher, father figure and friend. Thanks for everything you have done to lift school basketball over the decades especially in the north zone.”
Lewis’ coaching methods along with his character left a long-lasting impression on his charges at Morvant Laventille Secondary. Former women's national player and Morvant Laventille Secondary student, Joelisa Cooper shared a heartfelt post on social media regarding Lewis’ impact on her life.
“You devoted your life to school's basketball. You devoted your life to your secondary school team. You brought us all together and formed a powerful squad of athletes. You made sure your girls’ team felt just as important as the guys. You protected your female athletes. You encouraged the guys to do the same. Your family became our extended family. You will always be ‘Coach’ to me. I love you, RIP” - Cooper.
TT Schools Basketball Association (TTSBA) president Ishmael St Bryce said, “I got involved in 1995 and I met (Lewis) shortly thereafter. He was a former vice president of TTSBA and chairman of the north zone for many, many years. On behalf of the TTSBA, I extend sincerest condolences to the family of the late Anthony Lewis. 'Tony' provided decades of long outstanding service to schools basketball. He will be greatly missed, and may his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Former NBFTT president, Garvin Warwick, stated, “Anthony ‘Tony’ Lewis was a man rooted in the development of the sport of basketball for over 40 years. He devoted his
life to the game which has allowed not only North Zone School Basketball, of which he was the chairman for over 10 years, but the wider national and zonal basketball fraternity to benefit from his dedication. His passion went beyond coaching at Morvant Laventille Secondary and extended to the zones through his training of referees and tables officials to assist with these leagues.”
The funeral service for Antony Lewis is Thursday, for family members only, followed by his cremation at Belgroves Funeral Home, Tacarigua.