FIMBA GB Stories – Charlotte Henderson

In our latest FIMBA GB Story, +40 Women’s Centre, Charlotte Henderson, talks about how basketball has been a major part of her life across countries and genders.

In 1962, Charlotte’s father, Per Lindstén, founded what is today one of Sweden’s most successful sports clubs, Södertälje Basketbollklubb (SBBK).  At 6’3″ he played centre and quickly developed a reputation for crazy antics. “Payton”, as he was called is celebrated by the club and remembered among his teammates as an extremely colourful character. Growing up, Charlotte often heard how her father used to be a ‘professional’ basketball player – although this may have been stretching the truth a little!  He did, indeed, score the club’s first point in a friendly match against an unknown team (most likely the women’s team pictured).  He was also the top scorer in the first match of the first tournament – with three points!  They lost the match 45-11.  The club’s history website also heralds his career with being Sweden’s most sent off player. One of the longer suspensions stemmed from a situation where he poured water on the referee, saying: “you need to cool down”.

Charlotte’s basketball career started in Brighton, where she grew up.  Her father had by then moved to England and as a parent, he was always on the sidelines cheering her brother and her on, whichever sport they played. Football was a favourite, he didn’t understand hockey or rugby, and was quite relieved when they gave up swimming. He was delighted when they both took up basketball at Dorothy Stringer, training with the Baverstock family.  Charlotte recalls an unforgettable event playing basketball for 24 hours, which raised lots of money for charity.

Moving to boarding school at age 11, Charlotte replaced her basketball passion with netball, which her father wasn’t too happy about. True to form though, he was still there on the sidelines, shouting “Rebound!” at regular intervals.

At Oxford University, Charlotte found her way back to playing basketball again, representing the university for three seasons from 1999-2002.  As a graduate and junior lawyer in the early 2000s, committing to team sports on a weekly basis was almost impossible. Having become a mum, 15 years had passed without playing. It was only when her father passed away in 2017 that she discovered basketball again. Playing the game they both loved felt like it brought her closer to him, even when he wasn’t around any more. Charlotte has made new friends through basketball and it has kept her “young”. Currently playing for Cobham Cobras (National League D2), Sutton Storm (CVL) and now part of the FIMBA GB family – Charlotte is a long way from retirement! 

It feels like a dream to have the opportunity to play for Great Britain this year.  Having never competed internationally before to having two tournaments lined up – in Croatia and Italy – is really exciting. The masters tournament in Halifax allowed me to play with former University team mate Georgie Webb after 20 years and catch up with her news.  I knew there was something special with FIMBA when I was greeted with a huge hug from the Captain at the first try-out.  The vibe is warm but the competition is fierce and the coaching is great.  Sports massage and physiotherapists on standby are a real luxury.

Charlotte Henderson

Charlotte has two wonderful boys who are also carrying on the family tradition of loving basketball. The eldest, William Henderson (@willhendersonbball), plays for Kingston Lions u14 (National League Premier), Whitgift School, was a Junior NBA finalist last year and has been part of Basketball England’s Aspire programme.  He dreams of playing professional basketball (like his Grandfather did) and they have already travelled to three continents to play with various coaches and opponents. They often read the stories of “Morfar’s antics”, laugh and remember with fondness that whatever life throws at us, basketball will always find a way to entertain us and bring us home.

Thank you for sharing your story, Charlotte. We are so pleased to see basketball has been and will be a major part of your life and are glad you caught the basketball bug again. We are incredibly proud to have you as part of the FIMBA GB Family.

(Photo Credit – Flo Alalade)