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Fab Flournoy says goodbye to Newcastle Eagles as he takes up coaching NBA squad Toronto Raptors

Fab Flournoy is leaving the Newcastle Eagles and heading to NBA squad, Toronto Raptors Credit: ITV Tyne Tees / PA

It's not real, at this point in time.

– Fab Flournoy on his departure from the Newcastle Eagles

A tearful goodbye to Tyneside, for a top job in Toronto.

The Newcastle Eagles have confirmed that Fabulous Flournoy, their hugely successful player/coach, has left the club after 18 trophy-filled years.

Fab has left the country, to take a new job with the Toronto Raptors, who currently hold the NBA title. At the age of 46, Fab will hang up his basketball boots and retire as a player, but that may take a while to process.

In his last season with the club, the Eagles secured a top-three finish for the 15th consecutive season in the British Basketball League.

Despite narrowly missing out on claiming the BBL cup due to a string of injuries in the squad, the franchise remains the most successful basketball club in British history.

  • Before he went, Fab spoke to our Sports Correspondent, Simon O'Rourke. Watch the report here:

A legend in the British Basketball League, but also in our local communities.

For years, the native-New Yorker coached in primary schools across the region with the Eagles Community Foundation and Hoops4Health scheme. Those who played in junior National League teams under the Newcastle Eagles School of Excellence, would remember the intensive week-long 'Fab Camp', that took place at Benfield School, in Newcastle, during the summer.

In 2016, Fab was made an MBE for services to British basketball and the community in the North East.

In March 2017, Fab picked up his MBE from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. The basketball star chatted to Prince William as he picked up his honour at Buckingham Palace.

It was a surprise. A genuine surprise.

To be honest, sometimes I think back and I don't know if I deserve it.

– Fab Flournoy, speaking after receiving his MBE
The Toronto Raptors lifted the NBA trophy last season Credit: PA

The Eagles will continue to the 2019/2020 BBL season under new leadership.

But who will fill Fab's boots? Most likely, no-one ever will. But it's the end of an era for the Eagles and they're ready to take flight on a new adventure.