By Neto Baptiste
Despite his accomplishments in football, the calypso artform and pan playing, former multifaceted national athlete Richie Francis said basketball has always been and remains his first love.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Francis, who played at the highest level in both sports, said it all started with just a casual stroll through the school’s basketball court in his community many years ago.
“Although calypso comes natural, basketball is just part of my life from a very early age, and it just developed and became a part of me over the years. I was into pan and soccer [football] before basketball and just passing through Villa school, which I attended, going to steelpan practice, one day I just decided, let me just go on the court; and it started right there,” he said.
The seven-footer, who became known for his accuracy on the court at both the club and national level, said his ability to shoot, particularly when under pressure, was something that came naturally from day one.
“That shooting thing is just a gift because it wasn’t practiced on or coached by anyone. It’s just a special gift that I had or got. Even presently when I play business league, if my team, APUA, is playing against the weakest team, I would say to them, pressure, and people would tell me to look at the score because we were way ahead, but the difference with me and them is I don’t care how small you are, until the whistle blows I am going to shoot straight until the game is done; I am going to kill you,” he said.
Francis formed part of the famous Skillville basketball team that was a dominant force in the early to late ‘80s.