LDS Basketball Stars Teach in Trinidad and Tobago

    “LDS Basketball Stars Teach in Trinidad and Tobago,” Ensign, Dec. 1991, 70–71

    LDS Basketball Stars Teach in Trinidad and Tobago

    Four former Brigham Young University basketball players traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to teach basketball skills to young people for a week at the beginning of September.

    The trip to this two-island nation in the Caribbean Sea was cosponsored by the Church and the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

    National Basketball Association players Danny Ainge, of the Portland Trailblazers, and Greg Kite, starting center for the Orlando Magic, joined former all-Western Athletic Conference players Scott Runia and Jeff Chatman for the clinics, fireside, and exhibition game.

    President J. Richard Toolson of the Trinidad and Tobago Mission said he thought the clinics for young people ages sixteen to twenty-two had “significant value since recognition of the Church had increased dramatically in the area as a result of the event.

    As a result of the basketball players’ tour, President and Sister Toolson have met with the president of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Noor Hassanali. Future meetings have been requested by President Hassanali.

    President Toolson said that not only do people of the islands now know more about the Church, but members feel that they are an important part of a dynamic worldwide organization.

    The Church received attention from the nation’s two major television stations and a number of radio stations. The four players were interviewed on the radio practically every day they were in the country, President Toolson said.

    Joseph Tony, minister of justice and national security, thanked the Church for the initiative and said the “coaching session here with these two stars from the NBA, I’m sure, is going to … get the young people to use their leisure time constructively.”

    “I think that young people need hope. They need avenues to express their talents, to express their feelings, to express their creative energies,” Mr. Tony added.

    Approximately 350 young people participated in the week’s activities, and they appeared to be receptive, Brother Ainge said. He said the players came not only to share their talents with the young people but also “to talk about the Church and our testimonies.”

    Brother Chatman added that they hoped the young people could learn to participate in wholesome activities as an alternative to drugs and drinking.

    Basketball stars Danny Ainge (holding ball) and Scott Runia instruct young men at basketball camp in Trinidad. (Photo by L. Gerald Pond.)