Basketballer Eager to Help Young Athletes Develop their Skills

A professional basketball player of Saint Lucian ‘roots’ has emphasized the value of sports in helping young people aspire to attain their goals.

LA Clippers player, Terrence Mann
LA Clippers player, Terrence Mann

Terrence Mann is of Saint Lucian parentage and has had an illustrious career in the sport of basketball; playing for the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA. Reports indicate that his exceptional performance has made him a crowd favorite.

Mann is on island in the company of his Celtics team mate Robert Covington and his parents to take is some of the sights and sounds, as well as, partake in the ongoing jazz festival. His parents originated from the Morne Du Don Community, Castries, and Terrence visited a few times in his younger days.

As a mark of recognition and admiration for the ‘Lucian’ professional making it onto the big stage in competitive sports, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) hosted the group along with some friends at a media briefing, Wednesday.

SLTA’s CEO Lorine Charles – St Jules wished the two athletes “well on your professional journey” and welcomed their visit to the destination.

“Sports Tourism is very important to Saint Lucia…and also recognizing the diaspora is very important to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority,” she said.

St Jules disclosed that the SLTA has launched a programme entitled Lucian Links, where they seek to maintain good relations with persons in the diaspora. She said the ‘Lucian Links’ Programme offers patrons a Discount Card that can be utilized when a traveler disembarks on the island.

“You are also allowed to share (and post) stories about Saint Lucia,” the SLTA official explained. “We also provide you with specials and paraphernalia if you want to share your Saint Lucia story.”

Sports Minister Kenson Casimir noted that “sports is all encompassing …and there are persons who enjoy watching and participating in our sporting culture in Saint Lucia”.

Added Casimir: “We have so much sporting talent in Saint Lucia. Basketball is perhaps the 3rd popular sport, in terms of participation…and all over Saint Lucia you will find a basketball court and you would see young people trying to shoot a hoop.”

He noted that as the sports minister, “it is incumbent upon me to try to develop it as much as possible along with the Basketball Federation that have been doing an excellent job and we’ve been seeing the fruits of their labour.”

The minister said, Saint Lucia has been doing well in 3×3 Basketball and “we are certainly hoping that we can continue to develop in the longer format of the game.”

While addressing the gathering, Mann said, “I’ve been dreaming of an opportunity like this since I was little …and to be able to be here and to be in a position to give back as best I can means a lot to me.”

Terrence adds that he is “excited to be here…and excited about these conversations”. He is also a ‘big fan’ of Jamaican Reggae artist Buju Banton and was elated to encounter the artist at the Landings Resort, where they are both staying for the jazz festival.

The Libran, born October 18 spoke about his aspirations to help young athletes on the island develop their skills. “I feel that my knowledge and resources that I have back in the US … to be able to bring over, not only my knowledge, but my team mates and as best that I can, bring more and more team mates to the island and get them involved”.

Mann also spoke about maintaining a rigid training regime as part of an athlete’s work ethics. He said : “It’s pretty straight …normally, during the season, we’re in the gym nearly every day doing something to get better, whether it’s off the court, on the court or in the waiting room.

“Outside of the season (we just ended) …we take a little break and then we get back to the same routine.”

He disclosed that along with his mom, they have started a Foundation and “we are looking to bring back some of that over here with the youth …we are raising a lot of money to help out the youth over there where we work, and we definitely want to bring that over here too.”

Terrence commented on the current trend of using sports as a vehicle to help youths stay on the right track, in an effort to negate against the social ills prevalent in the communities.

Mann declared: “We were just talking about (using) sports as an avenue for me to stay out of trouble…where all my friends were doing all sort of things. Just being able to go to the field and play soccer, or go play baseball or basketball … my family and I definitely use sports as an avenue to stay out of trouble.”

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