In recent times Ed held the position of BBL & WBBL Chairman, as well as being a Trustee of the Basketball Foundation – yet this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Ed played a hugely significant involvement in the sport across a period spanning almost half a century.
Despite a sizable commitment of time and energy to basketball, Ed also enjoyed plenty of success away from basketball. This included, but was by no means limited to, working as a Business Coach for the last 20 years – most recently with Shirlaws since 2007. And, for anyone who knew Ed, they appreciated this sector was a perfect fit for him.
Ed’s significant involvement in basketball commenced in the 1970’s when he was an integral part of Crystal Palace Basketball Club. He was part of the committee that founded and organised the popular ‘World Invitation Club Tournament’, staged at Crystal Palace for 18 years from the late seventies. It brought together basketball clubs from around the globe and was the staple diet for most ‘basketball nuts’ over the festive period. Ed was affectionately known as the ‘Voice of WICB’ and his silky skills on the mic are still remembered to this day, perhaps most of all for the catchphrases he developed within the role – the ‘Classy Chassis of Larry Dassie’ comes to mind!
Away from Crystal Palace, Ed coached a girls team in Slough and those lucky enough to have been coached by Ed still talk about his incredible knowledge for the game and his ability to get the very best out of his players.
During the early 1990’s, Ed offered his energy to serving as a Director of another national league club, Thames Valley Tigers. It is no coincidence that this period was the Tigers’ most successful, with the team winning the BBL Trophy three times and the league once. History says that the key people in that Tigers’ side were Head Coach Mick Bett and star player Tony Holley. What perhaps isn’t well documented was that Ed recruited Mick and was instrumental in a decision to keep Holley at the club after he had started his debut season indifferently.
Late last week, I spent some time reading through the abundance of comments posted on Ed’s Facebook account since his death. Unsurprisingly it was clear from those comments that the love, admiration and respect that Ed enjoyed from the entire basketball community was replicated across every person that he encountered during his life.
One only has to read the comments below from people Ed had touched during his involvement in basketball to appreciate the admiration he enjoyed:
Jimmie Guymon (former player): “Ed had the most exuberant personality and had that unique ability to make others feel like they were the most important people in the world. He exuded kindness and cared for others, always helping people find their way in the quandaries that we know as life. Ed was the epitome of what a basketball coach should be and one of the finest students of the game I have known. He grasped the concept – that most important of all that makes up the essence of a team, in that a person who is involved in team sport or life itself, cannot truly succeed as an individual unless the team is successful. And a team can only be successful if all those individuals within that team will harness their egos and place their teammates well above themselves. Ed took all the knowledge he learned as a salesman and combined it with his unique understanding of the ultimate team sport in basketball and became a masterful life coach, who touched the life of everyone who has ever met him. He did meaningful work and helped so many by placing the needs of others far above his. Ed was the ultimate team player.”
Kevin Routledge (BBL Director and previous BBL Chairman; Leicester Riders Chairman): “Ed was always a special person, and one who saw the positive in every circumstance. He made a tremendous contribution to British Club and League basketball over decades, including at Crystal Palace and Thames Valley, and in the formative days of the BBL as a Board member, as well as more latterly as independent Chairman. Ed made a difference to so many people he interacted with – because he was always careful to listen, rarely judgmental and could always find the common ground. He was the ultimate coach – in sport and away from it. The basketball family will miss you greatly Ed, but our thoughts also go to Val and to all your family. We will miss you dearly. May you rest in peace. Our prayers will be with you.”
Alton Byrd (former player): “I truly hope that you will rest in peace. You deserve so much more than a few lines here. Since the age of 21, you have been an extraordinary part of my life and my family’s life. In my first days at Crystal Palace Basketball Club, you showed me kindness. You and Val made me feel like I was part of the Percival family. Simon and Sarah were like my own. As I matured, you were always there to counsel me, to help believe in myself, to remind me of all that is good in life. You were my Rabbi. I admired your love for Val and your family. We shared our mutual love for the game of basketball. We participated in coaching sessions that I will never forget at Shirlaws and Think Feel Know colleagues. Most importantly, you reminded me of what is most important- NOW. TODAY. PRESENT. I am sad you are gone Ed. I am not sure where to turn for that 15-20 minute chat about life and how to be in life in a happy space. How not to listen to the noise. You made me a better man, a better basketball player. A better husband and father. A better friend. You have set remarkably high standards for all of us who are still alive. God Speed Ed. I will see you on the other side. Love to you Valerie, Simon, and Sarah today and always!”
Mark Clark (Basketball England Interim CEO): “The passing of Ed is a tragic loss to basketball, he committed so much of his life to the game he loved. Having known Ed personally for 30 years from his time at Crystal Palace, Brixton and Thames Valley he was simply committed to his family first but also to making basketball a success. Most recently Ed was involved in taking the BBL forward and he will be missed by everyone in the sport.”
Sam Stiller (former player): “Ed Percival and I were friends all through my building years of Basketball. Ed was a familiar face in and around all Basketball events especially at Crystal Palace National sports centre. He always had good thing to say to me, a friendly man with a nod or wink which sometimes said it all. We reunited on Facebook a few years back. I will miss his likes and short messages of support. I pray for his safe travel to the other side and for those he left behind.”
Personally, I always looked forward to any dialogue with Ed as it was terrific and from my first meeting with him, I instantly felt at ease. His support, advice, vision and inspiration will stay with me forever and I feel honoured and privileged to have worked with him. Put simply he was ‘awesome’ and he will be sorely missed.
Whilst we all feel the sad loss of Ed, those it will hit the most will of course be his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Valerie, children Simon and Sarah and all his family at this very difficult time.
Chief Operating Officer – BBL
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