The Brixton Topcats Legacy - With Jimmy Rogers - Ep. 38 -

The Brixton Topcats Legacy – With Jimmy Rogers – Ep. 38

It brings us great honour to mark the return of the Hoopsfix Podcast with a very special episode with Jimmy Rogers, that we are publishing posthumously following his passing last month after a six month battle with cancer.

Rogers is one of the forefathers of the British game, helping found the Brixton Topcats in 1984 and is responsible for an extensive list of British basketball talents including two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng, former WNBA player Andrea Congreaves, current BBL MVP Justin Robinson, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Eric Boateng, Ogo Adegboye, the Baker twins, Andrew Bailey and many more, but most importantly provided an outlet for thousands of inner-city youth with a club that became a cornerstone of the local community in South London.

A legend in the truest sense of the word, Rogers was not only responsible for producing great basketball players with the Topcats, but numerous other professionals who beat the odds; doctors, lawyers, academics, journalists, teachers and more, who all credit the club for their success.

The basketball club is arguably the most famous in England, with a trophy cabinet and alumni list to rival any team in the country.

This interview was recorded approximately two years ago but never published due to poor audio and me having felt like I hadn’t done a great job steering the interview. The plan was always to re-record the interview, but unfortunately, we never did get it done.

Over the past few weeks, we managed to get expert help from audio editor Jas Rao to sort the audio levels (please do reach out to him for help with any audio editing you might need!) and what you are about to hear is the full interview.

In this hour and twenty minute episode, hear from Jimmy Rogers on:

  • His early upbringing, being the only black person in the area
  • How he was first exposed to basketball
  • Joining the army and the impact being stationed in Germany had on him
  • His frustrations with the lack of coaching expertise in England
  • Dealing with racist attitudes*
  • His first foray into coaching in the Toxteth area of Liverpool
  • The number of good people who have left the game and his determination to stick with it
  • Why he moved down to Brixton
  • Brixton’s reputation and how he wanted to challenge it
  • How Brixton Topcats was formed and its early roots in the New ERA organisation
  • Naming the Brixton Topcats
  • The club’s philosophy
  • The club’s longevity, sustainability and financial model
  • Where and how basketball has failed with the press in England
  • Topcats’ integration with the local community
  • The countless players that have come through his programmes
  • What would happen to players who got technical fouls in the early days of the programme
  • His biggest beef with the national team programme
  • What he felt was a missed opportunity with the London 2012 Olympics
  • His love for the game
  • How attitudes of players have changed over the years
  • His memories of Luol Deng coming up
  • Why he wouldn’t want to be an NBA player
  • The best player that ever played under him
  • The legacy he wants to leave
  • And much, much more!

*NOTE: With regards to the racism accusations around the Crystal Palace programme, this was Jimmy’s opinion and is not necessarily fact. We have since spoken to multiple people close to the Crystal Palace programme at the time, who refute there was racism within the club, and that there were black players involved before Jimmy’s arrival.

As always, I’d love to get your feedback, come back after you’ve listened and lets get some discussion going in the comments.

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