Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2013 Contents A49
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NEW YORK---Jason Kidd
retired yesterday from the
NBA after 19 seasons, ending
one of the greatest careers for
a point guard in league history.
Kidd won an NBA title and
two Olympic gold medals, is
second on the career list in
assists and steals, and was a
ten-time All-Star. But he
struggled badly in the playoffs
for the Knicks shortly after
turning 40 and decided to
walk away with two years and
more than $6 million left on
the deal he signed last
"My time in professional
basketball has been an
incredible journey, but one that
must come to an end after 19
years," Kidd said in a
statement released by the
Knicks. "As I reflect on my
time with the four teams I
represented in the NBA, I look
back fondly at every season
and thank each every one of
my teammates and coaches
that joined me on the court."
His retirement comes two
days after fellow 40-year-old
Grant Hill, with whom Kidd
shared Rookie of the Year
honours in 1995, announced his
Kidd retires from NBA after 19 seasons
Channon Thompson is
the face of local volley-
ball. At just 19, she is
already a five year
veteran of the sen-
ior national team
key figure in its
2014 FIVB World
Warming up for the road
to Italy, she dominated the
NORCECA Women s Second
Round Group I qualifiers in St
Augustine last week, leading
T&T to a gold while taking home
awards for Best Scorer, Best Striker,
Best Server and Most Valuable Player.
She was in action again over the
weekend in the Caribbean Volleyball
League, helping UTT sucessfully defend
its title and earning another MVP tro-
Before her match against Technocrats on
Thursday, in which she would score 14 points
in a straight set victory, Thompson spoke to
the Guardian about her decision to choose a
volleyball career over furthering her education,
her relationship with her teammates, and why her
sport is on the fringe of a spike in popularity in
Mention volleyball to Thompson and it will trigger
a smile. Having tried swimming and running, she
found her calling at 13 when she joined the Starlings
Club, immediately developing a passion to be the best.
"What s not to love about volleyball?" she asks.
"Every element of it is amazing and fun. There s an
adrenaline rush both on and off the court and it s so
intense that you can look on and see all the players
emotions and feel connected to them. I love it."
Within a year, she was representing her country
alongside players twice her age.
"I still am the youngest player on the team but it s
always been something I m used to. It wasn t so bad
because we have a friendly group of girls who helped
me to feel comfortable and develop my skills. For me,
it was more like looking at them as role models and not
being afraid of them."
After finishing Form Five at St Joseph s Convent San
Fernando, Thompson opted to pursue a professional career,
signing a three-year contract with the Polish club AZS
"It s not something that everybody will agree with, but
that s one of the things that really motivates me to succeed;
to prove to people that I made a good decision. I have seen
the standard of living which volleyball can bring and it
drives me to work hard."
Thompson believes that big things are in store for the
current crop of national players though she noted they
would need more than commitment and talent to compete
with the best in the world.
"There s just not enough funding," she pointed out. "The
national team has to fight for training time, gym time and
therapy. Everybody needs time to be able to work on their
personal game, but when you have four hours maximum
per day, you can t do that... Once we have those things
our volleyball will improve because we already have the
expertise of the coaches it s just a matter of being able to
implement them with the proper facilities."
On a positive note, she said she had witnessed an
increased interest in the sport in recent times, spurred on
by television coverage and the introduction of school pro-
grammes across the country.
"TV is building awareness. It s a beautiful sport so all
we really need is exposure. Once people come out and see
what it s about, I think they will develop a passion for it."
T&T s women are currently ranked 32nd in the FIVB
Senior World Ranking though Thompson aims to take
them in to the top five by the time she retires. She is
looking forward to making the journey with her close knit
"We are a family. We ve been training for several years
and both on and off the court we have a connection. Like
family, we have our disagreements but what s important
is that we ve always been able to work past them, understand
each other better and not allow our external problems to
affect us on the court."
Channon Thompson in
action during the
League over the
weekend at the
University of the
West Indies Sport
and Physical Centre
PHOTO: ANTHONY HARRIS
"Every element of it is amazing and fun.
There's an adrenaline rush both on and off the
court and it's so intense that you can look on
and see all the players' emotions and feel
connected to them. I love it."
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