Sports

Diplomat/sports icon Quant a reminder of ‘golden era’

Sports Scope is currently on vacation for the Christmas season and will return in the new year. During this time, The Nassau Guardian will feature a few Sports Scope columns from the past.

Max Quant made the call. He made contact to inform me of the presence in Grand Bahama, of a very special, long-time, contributor to nation building in the country.

His Excellency Sterling Quant, Ambassador, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, People’s Republic of China, was visiting for a series of meetings.

It was the kind of call that perked up the normal morning routine and paved the way for a bright day. Sterling Quant is sports royalty. Quant has not been a stranger to the major island of the Northern Bahamas, in particular, because of his participation in golf tournaments there.

However, because of his posting, far away, on an important overseas mission for his country, the visit was surprising, and he represented a pleasant reminder of the ‘Golden Era of Sports’ in The Bahamas. His athletic exploits came during the last two decades of the golden era, the 1960s and 1970s, and Quant was a pacesetter of note.

In local basketball, nobody dominated the center position, as did Quant, while playing for the fabled Kentucky Colonels. He was such a force of finesse and productivity, on offense and defense, that opposing players paid him the ultimate respect by resorting to fouls and intense physical play to seek to equalize him.

I have vivid memories of such as the present Speaker of the House of Assembly, Halson “Hallie” Moultrie, Lionel “Snake” Evans, “Bumpy” Johnson, Carter Lightbourne and “Bookie” Johnson, almost as a rule, aggressively going up against Quant, more often in defeat, albeit. Testimony to his outstanding ability on the court was the fact that despite the bullying tactics (when the game was not soft as it is now), Quant often prevailed by finishing games with the top statistics, and another mark in the win column for his team.

If today’s culture of fouls was applied during the golden era, Quant would have gone to the free throw line 20 times per game and his adversaries would have fouled out of every game.

Gifted with resilience and great flexibility, he twisted and positioned himself in an uncanny manner to be most beneficial to his team, whether going to the basket, going up for a rebound, boxing out, or stretching to block shots.

In my view, easily on par with his skillset, was the unique way in which he dealt with the situation that confronted him each game. Quant maintained his composure and always focused on the prize, winning, as he built a legacy few can compare to.

Beyond local league play was Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where Quant enhanced his legendary status, as an All-American who crafted a market value which led to a milestone that will be attached only to his name, forever.

Quant was the first Bahamian to be drafted into pro basketball, via the Dallas Chaparrals of the old American Basketball Association (ABA), before the merger with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

He is in the Central State University Hall of Fame and The Bahamas’ National Sports Hall of Fame. His wide body of work includes being a top banker, having once headed the Bahamas Development Bank, a political candidate, and now regarded as notable in The Bahamas Diplomatic Corps.

In the spirit of diplomacy and being a protocol advocate, Quant stays above the fray on national issues and the workings within the sports fraternity. He stands nevertheless, as a pillar of substance, one to be emulated in the sporting community and otherwise. Quant is one of a vanishing breed, of that ilk, directly connected to the glorious ‘Golden Era of Sports’ in The Bahamas.

We should always salute those who helped in a huge way to shape The Bahamas’ sports brand.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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