Burnham Basketball Court – honing a legacy of players

DPI, GUYANA, November, 2017

When you think about exceptional basketball in Guyana, more specifically in Georgetown, your thoughts immediately turn to the Burnham Basketball court. It is one of the best outdoor courts around Georgetown to go “shoot some hoops.”

Located on Middle and Carmichael Streets, Georgetown, the court was established in the late 1960’s and is a hotspot for youths to have friendly or competitive basketball games. Some of local basketballers that graced the court with their talent include Lugard ‘the legend’ Mohan, Robert ‘Bobby’ Cadogan, Nikolai Smith and Stephan Gillis.

This court’s uniqueness stems not only from being named after Guyana’s first Executive President, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, but also because of its ambiance. Playing indoors is one thing, but fresh air provides a unique gaming experience.

The court is also home to several major basketball tournaments in the country. This includes the Mackeson Smooth Moves 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, GABA/Powerade/Malta Supreme/Rainforest Water basketball tournament and the Philip George Memorial Basketball tournament among others.

The court not only caters for events during the day, its six bright flood lights also allow for exciting evening competitions.  Another great feature are the bleachers for those desirous of witnessing exceptional talent and athleticism (catching a game.)

Apart from all the excitement, the court also serves as a meeting place for youths; ensuring that they are meaningfully occupied and away from illegal activities.

The Department of Public Information visited the court and spoke with some of the youths. Many had their own unique reasons for being there.

Fifteen-year-old Darren Hinds explained, “I just like playing basketball with the bigger guys because usually I have practice at school but bigger guys, the under 23 players they play out here so I like playing out here with them.”

Jude Cornet who is currently pursuing his Associate Degree in Biology shared that he prefers to practice at the Burnham basketball court because, “The Burnham court has a very good ring and there is a bit of seating and shelter for you if the rain falls, so that is why I prefer to come out here.”

He further said that, “If this court was not here I would probably be at home, watching a movie or watching videos on YouTube.” This is a true testament that the facility is indeed keeping youths meaningfully occupied.

Retired coach Dennis Clarke said he has trained various teams at the Burnham court for over thirty-six years. Clarke explained the court, since its establishment, has played a pivotal role in nurturing hundreds of youths. He opined that sport while integral to a country’s development and is vital since it serves to keep youths away from crime.

“This court as you know has been here for many years and you have the kids from all the schools they would come out here and practice during the day and now that we have full lights, the basketball federation make sure that the kids can come out at a later hour to play” Coach Clarke stated.

The Burnham basketball court is indeed an exceptional facility where athletes can go and feel comfortable.

Professional basketballer Derrick Rose professing his love for basketball once said “I love playing basketball because you could be having a rough day in your life and while you’re on the court it gives you a clear mind. I’m not worried about anything. I’m there just playing freely and I go out there and I have fun.”

By: Isaiah Braithwaite

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