He may only be 27-years-old, but basketball player Nigel Byam has already packed a lot into his life.
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Grenadian parents, after graduating from college Nigel played for the Grenada national team in summer 20100 and went on to join basketball teams in Bahrain and Iraq, an experience that made a lasting impression on the young athlete.
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Grenadian parents, after graduating from college Nigel played for the Grenada national team in summer 2010 and went on to join basketball teams in Bahrain and Iraq, an experience that made a lasting impression on the young athlete.
Although currently a swingman for Neptune Cork, Ireland’s oldest basketball team, it seems Nigel is keen to ensure that his presence is felt far beyond the basketball court. One of his favourite quotes states, “What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.”
In 2010, he founded Team SBG Foundation, a charitable organisation that aims to inspire and support young people. Not content to do the traditional round of funding applications Nigel has taken an innovative approach to generating income for the foundation through his High Access clothing line.
And while this ambitious young man has certainly seen a lot of the world, Nigel remains fiercely proud of his Grenadian roots and is committed to making a difference ‘back home’,
What are some of your fondest memories from your time spent in the Middle East?
So, people may think that the Middle East is a great big war zone, but from my time there it was nothing like that at all. People there are great very loving.
My top two fondest memories will have to be, firstly, how much people came to the games and showed me so much love. It didn’t seem to matter whether we won or lost, they came out and showed me how much they cared about me and the team.
Secondly, I’ll never forget how beautiful the buildings were, looking at the churches and the way they built them was unreal – some of them had real gold on them – it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before!
When did you found Team SBG Foundation and what do you hope to achieve through the Foundation?
I founded Team SBG Foundation in 2010 with the goal of helping the youth of Grenada to be seen to the world with the skills they have in sports, with the hope of getting into college. Right now, I have a clothing line named High Access Apparel which powers the foundation.
To help put on events such as basketball games, mentoring programmes and charity and fundraising. One of my ultimate goals is to be able to help some of Grenada’s top youth in academics to buy books and other things to help with school. My overall aim is to build an indoor basketball gym with a community centre. I’m actively looking for partners and sponsors to help make this a reality.
Why have you felt that it’s important to use your position to give back?
I have achieved so many great things in my life, a lot of my success and drive in life I owe to my family and friends in Grenada who kept me motivated and pushed me to always go higher.
I just want to be a role model to others, and have an impact on the lives of many. I feel like my success is nothing if I can’t share it with others and help them grow as people and get to their goals in life.
As you were born and bred in New York, why is your Grenadian heritage so important to you?
My whole life going to Grenada growing up was the highlight of my childhood. I went to school in Brooklyn, New York. As soon as school was over in June, I was in Grenada until the end of August.
So as a child your free time was mostly in the summer and that time was spent in Grenada for me, with my family – I have a lot of cousins my age – and friends. I did it all, swimming, playing sports (basketball, football, cricket etc.).
That’s why my Grenadian heritage is so important to me, the best of my boyhood days were spent in Grenada.
If you could commit to changing one issue in Grenada, what would it be?
One issue will have to be the support the youth great. I feel like they are the future of the island, and more time should be spent on making sure they are ready to make Grenada a better place on a whole.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The worst piece of advice I have ever been given has to be that basketball is not a job!