St. John’s Antigua- Miami Heat center Joel Anthony touched down at VC Bird International Airport on Wednesday where he was greeted by his mother and former teacher Erene Anthony now living in Canada and aunt, Nurse Florence Anthony of Old Road, where he will be spending his summer vacation with family and friends,
The six-foot nine-inch tall player was also greeted by Minister of State within the Ministry of Sports Senator Winston Williams, Director of Sports Evans “Jawakie” Jones and the Director of Tourism in the US, Derede Samuel-Whitlock at the VIP Lounge.
The player, who today celebrates his 30th birthday, said he is looking forward to meeting and dialoguing with the country’s young and upcoming talents.
“I definitely believe its growing and that’s the biggest thing, as long as there is continued development hey would definitely be able to continue to grow and you would be able to see more of your young people from the islands playing in the NBA and professionally in different areas of the world so and so it starts with the youth obviously and that’s a reason they would like me to talk to the younger children and aspiring basketball players,” he said.
“I am definitely a firm believer that everything starts with our youth and that they are the future so if that development is able to take place then you will continue to see more people from the islands get an opportunity to play in the NBA and be successful in any sport they choose,” Anthony added.
The 2012 NBA champion, who said that one of his favourite things to do here in Antigua is sit on the family verandah and eat mangoes, added that with hard work, more Antiguan and Caribbean basketball players can advance to the professional realm.
“In sports but really in everything that you do, there is definitely opportunities through the hard work and dedication that you apply into it and it doesn’t always have to be just about sports because academics comes into play as well but the building of the characteristics that it takes to be successful is something that is important life lessons,” he said.
“I would definitely touch on that because that is something they would need in order to well and succeed,” the NBA player added.
It’s, however, not Anthony’s first visit to Antigua as the player has been making Antigua his private getaway for many years now and even names Antigua & Barbuda as his favourite place to visit on his website.
Williams, in welcoming Anthony, presented him with a card and a copy of the guide book, “A Little Bit of Paradise.”