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Myers straddles globe to keep all hands on deck


Mark Woods

Join the Army. See the World. 

By his own admittance, Shawn Myers is a fully paid up member of basketball's globe-trotting brigade, journeying from country to country on the non-stop train of slam dunking guns available for hire.

Thus far, the Scottish Rocks forward has filled his passport with stamps from a variety of ports of call. 

A spell in Lithuania followed a stint at university in the United States. 

Then there were halts in Finland and Iceland before touching down in Britain last year with Newcastle Eagles, where he was to become the BBL's leading scorer. 

Journeymen pros, they call such wanderlust-filled warriors. 

Yet 6'6" Myers, who was born and grew up in Trinidad, never aspired to travel. It was only the revelation of his athletic gifts which commanded that he should emulate fellow islanders as Dwight Yorke and Brian Lara and exit unto a more populous stage.

Rather than having in the world at his feet, however, he has instead always aspired to nestle the ball in his hands. 

Following the traditional Caribbean pursuits of cricket and football, his idols were Viv Richards and Diego Maradona, artisans who shone from a spot in the higher orders. 

Their abilities may have earned his admiration. Myers, though, was cut from a more unorthodox cloth.

"I was a goalie," he reveals. 

"I liked their skills, guys like Carlos Valderrama and Zico but they never influenced me. The same in cricket which was my second favourite sport. 

"In the West Indies you play all the time. As a rule we used to have a match every. I liked batting and
bowling but I much preferred fielding, getting in the slip. 

"Again, it was like goalkeeping. Not so glamorous but I enjoyed it more."

Such youthful dalliances did not go unrewarded in his eventual chosen field. 

"We used to go to the beach and take a ball and dive into the ocean to see how high you could catch it. The ocean helped me build my muscles. 

"We'd run in the sand and get in the water and jump around. It made my legs really strong which helped me out in basketball."

Averaging 18.5 points per game for the free-scoring Scots, his latest employers have become ever more reliant on Myers' leaps to land a scoring punch.

A latecomer to the game, he has not wasted the opportunities afforded by his natural proficiency, opting to eschew soccer for basketball as a means to gain a free ride into America's golden melting pot. 

"A lot of the guys who were playing basketball with me were getting scholarships to the USA," he recalls. 

"I wanted to go there and play. I didn't want to stay in Trinidad. My coach told me I'd improved so fast
that I should stick with it and he'd get American scouts to come and see me play. 

"One came down from Florida and worked me out. He told me that I could cope with college ball in America and a few weeks later I was there.

"At first, it wasn't about travelling and seeing the world because I was satisfied with home. But I knew I needed to get out and do my own thing because I was always a mummy's boy. 

"I was the only boy in the family and it was hard to be under my mamma's arm all the time so I needed to become independent. It was a case of doing my own thing."

The global circus has been good to Myers. Only twice have bumps arisen en route which threatened to hurl his convoy off course, particularly in Lithuania where his height and skin colour singled him out for abuse.

"People called me nigger and stuff like that. But it didn't bother me too much because I knew they didn't know any better. They didn't have any black folk there. So seeing a black person up close made them think.

"They knew me only as a nigger because that's the way the media portray us. That's how they understood it."

Then at the start of this season, he joined Chester. A match made in heaven quickly turned into hell, an 
apparent clash of egos sending the Trinidadian into purgatory and a quick dismissal. 

The Jets loss has proved the Rocks gain. And Myers, laid back at every branch of his West Indian roots, refuses to let such a fleeting hiccup spoil his adventures abroad.

"Life goes on. I knew someone would pick me up so being released didn't bother me too much. I was just annoyed about the way it happened." 

He adds: "It's been decent here and I think we can go pretty far. We just have to play hard down to the wire." 

Having travelled from the Caribbean to the Clyde, one would expect nothing less from Trinidad's wandering star.

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