TRIBUTES have flooded in for an Edinburgh grandad branded one of the best basketball players in the UK.
Bill McInnes, a former captain of Great Britain and Scottish basketball teams, died suddenly this weekend, following a short battle with cancer.
The dad-of-two, who lived in Boroughmuir, has left the Scottish basketball community “devastated” with many player’s paying tribute to him on social media.
Before passing, the 71-year-old was serving as the chair of the newly formed British Basketball Federation.
He was a long-time chairman of Basketball Scotland, and was both a player, coach and official at Boroughmuir Basketball Club in – he won the British title with them in 1972.
He earned 172 international caps, including 49 for GB, and held the record appearance mark for over three decades.
For years, Bill worked at Meadowbank Stadium before moving to the Westerhailes Education Centre to take up the role of the centre manager.
He was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to basketball.
John Mannion, 65, who worked with Bill at the education centre, spoke of his heartbreak at losing a “great” friend.He said: “He was an incredibly nice guy who was very good at his job. He was very well respected and well thought of. He will be sorely missed by all.”
Mr Mannion added: “I took over as centre manager at the Wester Hailes Education Centre when Bill retired but we remained very good friends.
“We grew even closer when his daughter married my son.
“He started feeling ill at the start of the year but it’s been a shock how quickly everything has happened.
“He was not only a great boss, but a really dear friend to me.”
In a statement, Basketball Scotland paid tribute to Mr McInnes.
They wrote: “Basketball Scotland are saddened to share news on the passing of Scottish and British Basketball legend Bill Mcinnes after a short illness. Our thoughts are with Bill’s family at this very difficult time.”
Tributes have continued to pour in for the grandad on social media, with many players reminiscing the great times they shared with him.
Glenn Hardaker wrote on Facebook: “RIP Bill McInnes.
“He was a towering figure in British and Scottish basketball who made a huge contribution on and off court.
“The Basketball community is going to miss him greatly.” Jim Durie wrote: “So sad to hear of the passing of Sir Bill McInnes.
“A major influence in my schoolboy and club playing days in Edinburgh in the 60’s/70’s.
“A great ambassador for the sport of Basketball.
“Played against him in Nottingham at GB Masters 40 years after my last game against him, a real privilege to have known you Bill.”
Andrew Sanders added: “Sad to hear that Bill McInnes, a legend of Scottish basketball, has passed. Remember playing against him in my earliest days in the Lothian League and he remained competitive as a player well into his 60s.”
Bill is survived by his wife Andrea, his children and grandchildren.