HISTORY OF BASKETBALL IN THE BAHAMAS
The sport of basketball was introduced to the large mass of The Bahamas population in 1934, by the late Brother Christopher Foster, OSB, a Roman Catholic religious of Trinidadian birth. At the time Brother Christopher was stationed at the Priory at St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on West Hill Street, as we know it today.
The year 1936 was to become of significance because in that same year, Fr. Marcian Peters, OSB, a newly ordained Benedictine monk, was called to the church in the Bahamas. Fr. Marcian first assisted with officiating to help Brother Christopher who was succeeded by Fr. Frederick Frey OSB, the first prior and Head Master of St. Augustine’s Monastery and College.
Assisted by laymen, such as Winston “Tappy” Davis, Erven “eyes” Adderley and others in the Holy Name Society of St. Francis Cathedral, Father Marcian nurtured the game, such that by the time it was called Our Lady’s of the Holy Souls Parish, Deveaux Street, the game had grown to include a men’s and women’s league. Winston Davis succeeded Fr. Marcian in the 1950’s.
Basketball moved to the other Islands in a formal way when the Grand Bahamas Association became the next member association of the New Providence based national Federation. The Bahamas Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) then Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) won international recognition from FIBA, the International Basketball Federation in 1962 under the Presidency of Mr. Davis.
Currently there are branches of the BBF in Grand Bahama, Andros, Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, Cat Island, Bimini and Inagua. So wide a diffusion of the sport is rightly attributed to Mr. Vince Ferguson, who served as the President of the national body from 1966 to 1963, a seventeen (17) year period which saw the development of the sport in international standards of excellence. He co-ordinated and led basketball unofficially from 1961 to 1965, then led the Officials (referee) body from October 1966 to September 1983.
In the college basketball ranks, Bahamians can only be in awe of the tremendous accomplishments of players like Locksley Collie and Dexter Cambridge, who played for the Texas Long Horns, and Rick Fox who lead the University of North Carolina Tarheels. Sterling Quant who was elected to Central State University was our first product of the professional basketball standard. He was drafted to the Dallas Chapporels of the A.B.A. but decided to return home where he assisted the local game.
Dexter Cambridge, Rick Fox and Ian Lockhart have joined Bahamian Mychal Thompson of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA ranks. Dexter played with the Dallas Mavericks, Rick played with Boston Celtics and currently plays with the Los Angeles Lakers. Ian Lockhart played college basketball for the Tennessee Volunteers and joined the Phoenix Suns at the start of the 19990-1991 season.
High school basketball continues to gain in prominence with the Fr. Marcian Peters, Grand Bahama Catholic High School and A.R. Adderley Hugh Campbell Tournament. Since the inaugural Bahamas games in the 1989, the classic has been won by three teams from Grand Bahamas.
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