Background

Western Basketball Article

By HG Helps

Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer, Monday, December 14, 2009

OPPOSITION leader and former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has urged young basketball players at Kingston College (KC) to be leaders in using the sport to build character and work hard at achieving their respective goals.

The former Minister of Sports was addressing the ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication of two new basketball courts, along with a spectator stand at KC's North Street location Friday.

Western Basketball

Morlon Greenwood (2nd left) of the Morlon Greenwood Foundation attempts to score a basket on Kingston College’s newly-refurbished courts on Friday. Looking on (from left) are Ingrid Bachelor, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller and Sports Development Foundation chairman David Mais. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

"Sports is the most sustainable form of character building," she told the gathering of students, old boys and well-wishers.

"It is fitting that something like this is happening at one of the finest boys' schools in Jamaica. I hope that the court will redound to the benefit of all.

"Anything you set ourselves to achieve, you can. There is nothing that you set yourselves to achieve that you cannot. If you are to be successful, you must take your education seriously, because if Jamaica is to make it as a country, education is key," she said.

Simpson Miller said that coming from a poor economic background did not mean that one could not succeed in life.

"Coming from poor circumstances never stopped me. I could move as the little long-foot girl from Woodhall in St Catherine into Jamaica House as the first female Prime Minister, so can others" she said.

The court was improved with contributions by the Morlon Greenwood Foundation and the RuJohn Foundation, both based in the United States.

Morlon Greenwood, a former American football player with the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans, has no connection to KC, but felt compelled to assist.

"I have achieved a lot and now I want to give back," said Greenwood, a Jamaican who was born in the politically-charged community of Jarrett Lane in the Mountain View area, but who attended high school and college in the United States.

Former KC track star Byron Bachelor, representing the RuJohn Foundation, which works to improve basketball in Jamaica by assisting players, holding coaching clinics, offering scholarships among other things, said that it was not difficult to assist the school's basketball programme.

"When you give back it doesn't have to be something that you did. I did not play basketball at KC, but I have grown to love it," he said.

Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation David Mais and Jamaica Basketball Association president Ajani Williams also pledged their support for KC's basketball programme.

Describing basketball as the fastest growing sport in Jamaica, Mais went one better by offering a commitment to help improve the school's main football field and to assist with the servicing of a water well.

Williams urged the school to preserve the facility, which he described as a "symbolism of competition", and gave his association's support for it.

KC's basketball teams are presently involved in the Inter-Secondary Schools' Sports Association at the Under 14, Under 16 and Under 19 levels.

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