Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Majestic Prince Steps Aside to Leave the Eagles Facing Fresh Start

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Majestic Prince Steps Aside to Leave the Eagles Facing Fresh Start

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER Sports writer stuart.rayner@trinitymirror.com @sturayner

"THE greatest scorer I have ever played with", "a once-in-a-generation-player."

Fabulous Flournoy did not hold back in his tributes to Charles Smith after the 40-year-old forward announced his retirement from basketball.

Once Newcastle Eagles began their pre-season without him, an announcement on the parting of the ways was inevitable.

The mere mention of his name was notable by its absence during the build-up.

Yesterday afternoon, following much supporter speculation, the news was finally confirmed.

The way played wonder performance possible, Player-coach Flournoy gushed: "unbelievable Fab "The way Charles played on court made you wonder how his performance was possible, it was unbelievable. "There is a part of me that will not be the same."

However, time moves on, and so must Britain's most successful basketball club.

The retirement of any great of any sport is a sad day but is also an opportunity for new heroes to emerge.

The Eagles have a chance to reinvent themselves, starting with Sunday's British Basketball League opener at Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday, two days after Smith's 41st birthday.

Make no mistake, the man they call "the Prince" is a BBL great.

During three spells on Tyneside he picked up 21 winner's medals, plus another 11 as runner-up.

He is the club's most prolific points-scorer with 5,897, as well as leading the way for field goals (1,621) and free throws (761).

Even before you factor in his ability to rise to the big occasion, the numbers show what a fantastic figure he was.

Smith was more than just an amazing player, he was also Flournoy's trusted lieutenant.

Charles made you how his was it was Flournoy By the end of last season, though, the tensions behind the scenes had grown to the point where, to the trained eye at least, they were visible on the court.

That, Smith's age and the need to refresh the team all pointed in one direction. …

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