Call for successful basketball players to give back


Senior Sports Reporter


WITH this being the yuletide season, long-time women’s basketball coach Patricia ‘Patti’ Johnson is calling on more players who have benefited from the sport to give back to help those following in their footsteps.

Johnson, who has spent the past 20-plus years as the coach of the HO Nash Lions junior girls basketball team, said she’s concerned about the state of decline in the level of play, all because there are not enough persons coming back and working as mentors to the young female players.

“We have a lot of females that passed through the system and now we have a lot of kids that could use some help,” Johnson said.

“What has helped to all those persons who have been assisted? A lot of them have returned home after getting an athletic scholarship, but they have done nothing to assist those coming up. Where is everybody? Where are all those persons who went off to college and are back home? Do you remember that you left people behind who can also go to school and who can use your help? It’s so sad to see players who have not been able to come back and help out.”

As the mentor for many of these student-athletes, Johnson said she doesn’t want anything in return from any of the players.

“But someone helped me and I tried to help someone,” said Johnson about her decision to remain coaching in the system. “You can come back to the campus and speak to the students, you can give donations. I’m sure that there are several ways that you can assist, especially with the females. I’m concerned.”

Johnson said she’s grateful that there were persons like Anita Doherty out of Grand Bahama, former deputy prime minister Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt and her primary school teachers and coaches, who assisted her along the way.

“They never asked for a quarter. But I picked up on some of the things that they did to help me,” she said. “I understood what they were saying. It’s not all about me. I understand what they were saying and that is why I continue to give me. But that’s a big problem that is going on. We don’t have sufficient people who are giving back to the programme.

“There are a lot of girls from the inner city who need help. I don’t know why we can’t get more people to come out and help them.”

Referring to some of the superstars of the game, Johnson said players like Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Dwayne Wade return to Cleveland and Miami respectively to assist youngsters. She said she personally witnessed Wade in action and was impressed with what she saw.

“I don’t think that the players and the people who have benefited from scholarships in my era realise the importance of giving back,” Johnson said. “I just would like to see more of these persons who come back like Jurelle Nairn and give back by putting on a basketball clinic.

“I know I can do more. I know that there are a lot of people who can give more. When I look back and see the players who have come and gone, it’s like they just forget about everybody. It’s so sad. I just wish that we can see more of these players come back and give a little more to help the programme.”

While she waits for them to make their contribution, Johnson said she will continue to make her impact on the lives of those youngsters she comes in contact with.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment