A well-liked and revered basketball historian, John was also a respected statistician that covered a number of high-profile events both domestically and internationally.
Initially based around the West Midlands, John was involved with the sport for over half a century as he also spent a length spell with Crystal Palace, pioneering an approach to basketball statistics that is still used in the game today.
His attendance at FIBA events, including EuroBasket, stretched across a number of decades and he was a familiar face to many in the sport across Europe.
He also avidly collected and documented research and statistics from as early as the 1930s spanning through to modern day.
During the mid-2000s, the man affectionately known as "Statkinson" moved to Spain, briefly returning to the UK in 2012 to take up a role as a statistician at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Working in partnership with University of Worcester and fellow statistician Jenny Collins, John co-founded the National Basketball Heritage Centre in 2015 and donated his work to the University.
The collection officially opened in 2016 and the centre now houses the biggest collection of basketball literature in the United Kingdom, with everything from scoresheets, box score statistics, magazines, newspapers, clippings, media guides, year books, programs, and memorabilia, dating as far back as 1947.
There has been an outpouring of condolences across social media for John, who was a much-loved man across the sport:
Absolutely devastated to hear the sad sad news that one of our true guardians of the game @statkinson49 has passed away. Inna lillah hay wa Inna ilayhay rajayoon. To him we come from, to him we return. #RIP #Statkinson pic.twitter.com/2fkiMJGeHB— Mansoor Ahmed (@IAmAhmedphotos) July 14, 2022
The giant whose shoulders those of us who loved the game, it's history, it's context, it's trailblazers, stood on. His legacy is immeasurable, without him much of what we know wouldve been lost. A legendary historian & statistician & a friend for 30-odd years, rest in peace John https://t.co/IroukVrD4X— Daniel Routledge (@dan_routledge) July 14, 2022
Couldn’t have put it better myself. There would be no @daveowenbball stats platform without John and Roger Yapp fiercely protecting the history of our sport. They had the vision to see the importance of capturing information that, if not for them, would only be anecdotal memories https://t.co/4i8X5zrUwt— Dave Owen Basketball (@daveowenbball) July 14, 2022
Saddened to hear that John Atkinson, statistician supreme and one of the unsung heroes of British basketball, has died. His love of a good photo bomb and a number -- and above all, his friendship will be missed by us all. pic.twitter.com/bAU5gVAtAz— Mark Woods (@markbritball) July 14, 2022
"I’m so sad to hear of John’s passing.
"John was one of the first guys in the UK to focus on game stats, travelling with Crystal Palace, England and GB teams to provide invaluable information for coaches.
"His attention to detail was formidable as was his dedication to the sport."
"I am so sad and very shocked to read about the passing of John 'Statkinson'.
"He was the encyclopedia of British Basketball. When it came to statistics and facts, no one had more data or knowledge. He was the key person when British Basketball wanted to develop a legacy for their sport.
"He was forever with us at Crystal Palace throughout my career there. I was also fortunate to see him through my work at FIBA at EuroBaskets and World Championships.
"He was the true encyclopedia of British Basketball."
For more information on the National Basketball Heritage Centre, please use the buttons below.
Main image credit - AhmedPhotos/Mansoor Ahmed