VALE: Alistair Ramsay MBE OAM

FIBA / Hall of Fame / VALE
Written by Geoff Tripp
26 October, 2021

26th March 1924 – 14th October , 2021   Age 97

Basketball NSW is saddened with the news of the death of Basketball NSW Life Member and Hall of Fame Legend, Mr Alistair Ramsay MBE OAM.

Al Ramsay, one of the greatest contributors to Australian and Oceania Basketball, passed away on 14th October 2021 following a short stint in hospital.

Born in Wauchope, on the NSW Mid North Coast, graduating from Taree High School, Al soon after enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in the Second World War.

His post-war career as a Physical Education Teacher including studies in Canadian Universities kindled his interest in basketball leading to being BNSW Secretary in 1954 for a 10-year stint including establishing the first full-time office for BNSW including leading the way to achieve Sydney’s first basketball owned facility at Alexandria.

Al served as Secretary for the Australian Basketball Union, now Basketball Australia for 14 years becoming very involved in administrative functions for FIBA – the International Basketball Federation, serving on the FIBA Central Board for 25  years.

Importantly, Al took on the role of developing basketball in the Pacific Region, and in 1968 at the FIBA Congress in Mexico City, was rewarded with FIBA formally establishing the Oceania Zone as the fifth Zone for FIBA globally. Al developed the model of employing Zone Development Officers who were employed from Australia and spent considerable times in each Island nation seeking to improve the playing, coaching, refereeing and administrative standards of the Island Federations as well as establishing a full-time FIBA Oceania Office in Coffs Harbour, NSW, serving as the Secretary-General for 31 years to 2001 when he handed over the role to Steve Smith.

Over a long career, Al was involved in the conduct of 10 Olympic Games and as many World Championships and served on the Technical Commission for the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games Basketball Tournaments.

His continuous contribution for the good of the game was renowned, there’s also regional competition named after him, the Al Ramsay Shield.

The Al Ramsay Shield is an international men’s basketball series played between the Australian Boomers and the New Zealand tall Blacks and the competition is played in conjunction with the FIBA Oceania Championships.

Basketball career highlights include:

  • 1955 – 1964: Secretary of the New South Wales Basketball Association.
  • 1963 – 1977: Secretary of the Australian Basketball Union.
  • 1967: Founder of the Oceania Basketball Confederation (current FIBA Oceania).
  • 1967 – 1997: Secretary-General of the Oceania Basketball Confederation.
  • 1972: Awarded Life Membership of New South Wales Basketball Association (BNSW).
  • 1972, 1967, 1980: A member of the Olympic Technical Committee.
  • 1967: Awarded Life Membership of the Australian Basketball Federation.
  • 1980: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
  • 1997 – 2002: President of the Oceania Basketball Confederation.
  • 1998: Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
  • 2000: Australian Sports Medal.
  • 2001: Life President of the Oceania Basketball Confederation.
  • 2002: Honorary Member of FIBA.
  • 2002: FIBA Order of Merit.
  • 2004: Inaugural Inductee of the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame.
  • 2004: Ramsay authored ‘Dunked – Australian Basketball Revealed’, a 300-page book on the history of the game in his country.
  • 2006: Basketball Australia Hall of Fame Honours Committee decided to promote Al Ramsay’s Hall of Fame status to ‘Legend’, the first elevation of its kind.
  • 2009: Inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.
  • 2011: Inaugural Inductee of the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame.
  • 2013: Elevated to the status of ‘Legend’ for the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame.
  • Member of the FIBA Central Board for 25 years
  • In addition, the winners of competitions between Australia and New Zealand are now awarded the Al Ramsay Shield, while winners of the Men’s Pacific Island Tournaments clinch the Al Ramsay Trophy.

Basketball NSW would like to extend its deepest sympathies to Helen, Alison, Donald and their extended family and friends.

May Al rest in eternal peace.