Valiant Lambert Henderson (1953-1996) (Part II)
JUMP BALL No. 71: By Arlington James
Concludes from previous edition.
Burning Nets (Ctd): But the year that Lambie burnt all nets to ashes was 1978. That year Lambert not only hit a record 58 points in Pros' 136-58 destruction of Brisbane Starlights, but he was also the Highest Scorer in that year's Division I league with 476 points, averaging 36.61 points per game! His teammates Augustus St. Hilaire and Pierre Charles had also helped destroy Starlights, contributing 42 and 22 Pts respectively.
One wonders how many baskets Lambie would have scored had he participated in DABA's fund-raising Marathon Basketball Match which was played in May 1974. One player, Trevor Knight, scored 168 points for Whites in that one-day event.
According to The New Chronicle (27-6-86), "…the veteran Lambert Henderson with 29 points [vs Eagles] hardly missed when he set up himself on the free-throw line far less in his flying layups."
His Basketball Awards: Lambert Henderson delighted fans from Grand Bay as well as Roseau, and his became a household name in Dominica's basketball. He took four awards during his career.
Lambie was judged Most Valuable Player in Division I twice, viz. in 1978 and 1983. He was also the League's Highest Aggregate Scorer and the Highest Individual Scorer in a match, both in 1978.
Representing Dominica: Lambert first represented Dominica on the Dominica State Team in 1973, the year he debuted in the national league. He was also a member of Dominica's National Team that participated in the inaugural CARICOM Basketball Championships held in Guyana, in 1981.
Lambie on Grand Bay's Court: Beginning in 1972, Lambert played in several of Pros' friendlies on Grand Bay's first basketball court which was situated on the Roman Catholic Church grounds. He also played in Grand Bay's Basketball League in 1980, with a team named White Sharks. Interestingly, one of his Sharks team-mates, young Garry "Snakey" Moore, went on to become another of Pros stars together with his brother Anicet "Gorvan" Moore and Stephen "Homo" Bellot (deceased). White Sharks won the 1980 League Championship.
Following his passing the Grand Bay Basketball League was named the Lambert Henderson Basketball League in his honour.
In Outside Friendlies: Lambert played several friendly basketball matches with Pros on their opponents' home courts, travelling long distances around the island to bring entertainment to the basketball enthusiasts of the respective communities. And so, he played in Castle Bruce, La Plaine, Paix Bouche, Portsmouth and Soufriere.
Outside of Dominica, Lambie travelled with Pros for a friendly in Guadeloupe, and also led the team when they undertook a 2-week tour of St. Lucia in 1983.
Coach & Mentor Lambie: Apart from contributing to the development of basketball in Grand Bay and Dominica as a "star scorer" Henderson, for a while, served as player-coach and captain of Pros, and later as Head Coach for his team after hanging up his uniform and boots around 1988.
Lambie also coached the Grand Bay Secondary School team in the Sports Division's 1994 Secondary Schools Basketball League, and the school's Track & Field and Cricket teams.
Additionally, Lambert played a very important mentoring role with what can be considered the middle wave of players who wore the Bata Pros and/or Malta Heineken Pros uniform. We talk here of the Moore brothers (Garry and "Govan"), the Anselm brothers (Ian and Swimburn), Ted George, Patrick Grell and others.
Off the Court: In Havis Shillingford's 28th June 1996 Sports Commentary, Havis described Lambie as having been "a participant in the life of the community (Grand Bay)". And that "He was family man and churchman." In fact, it was widely rumored that Pros had requested of the Basketball Association to avoid scheduling Pros matches on Friday nights on account of Lambie's religious commitments.
In the line of culture, Lambie was a guitarist and traditional drummer, playing with his church choir and La Jeune Étoile Chorale. He was also a stage actor.
Mr. Henderson was a teacher by profession who started off "teaching all subjects" at the Grand Bay Primary School. Following the opening of the Grand Bay Secondary School (now Pierre Charles Secondary School) he became the "woodwork specialist" at GBSS, having undergone training in that field in St. Lucia.
Another of Henderson's passions was cricket and he had been selected for trials for Dominica's National Cricket Team. Following his passing we saw Lambert's Eleven trouncing opponents, while the Southern Cricket League was renamed the Lambert Henderson Cricket League in his honour.
This package, and much more, was the man Lambert Henderson, juggling between so many interests. Wishing his family and siblings all the best.
Jump Ball thanks Michele Henderson-Delsol, Patrick Henderson, Mrs. Marguerite Rose Dennis (nee Henderson), Anicet Moore and Sylvester Defoe for contributing towards this article. Statistical information sourced from archived newspapers.