My 5 role models… with NIKKI FONG LYEW QUEE

My 5 role models and the ways they inspired me

This week Totally Runable’s Natalie Jackson spoke to British Basketball player, Commonwealth Silver Medalist and Manchester Met guard, Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee about those who inspired her to be a role model to others.

My Dad

“My dad is one of the main reasons I have been successful in my sport and is my biggest role model. For my whole junior career he drove me to every practice and every camp/tournament, no matter how far! He also took a lot of the financial burden of basketball as I progressed, as well as providing for the family. He’s always told me to pursue my dreams, and what I may perceive as failure is only a lesson to learn from. Coming from Jamaica and starting his own business by himself is something I have always admired and he is definitely where I get my drive and determination from!”

My fiancé Robert Fairley

“My fiancé who has been my rock, my best friend, and through all the ups and downs in my career has been a great influence in my life on and off the court. He listens to my ranting (which he must hate!) and encourages me even at my darkest times. The main attributes that I love about him, are his compassion and ability to build relationships by being positive and caring to everyone. He has been a basketball coach for many years, and has impacted many kids lives. He has used his extra time to help many kids excel and always motivates me to get in the gym to work out. He is my biggest fan and I hope I make him as proud as I am of him”

Jo Leedham

“Jo is a London 2012 Olympian, Great Britain basketball player and now mother to a beautiful newborn girl. She was my teammate for the last four years and is one of the most decorated GB players there has ever been. In my career as I was achieving more and more things I never imagined I would, the pressure and expectations were higher. I remember watching her before I made the team and she was always the hardest working person on the floor, a natural leader and the type of player I wanted to be. She is the type of player that even if her stats don’t show how well she did, she was always the difference in the game with hustle and grit. I remember feeling so scared about going to GB camp and playing with these amazing women, who were Olympians and played professionally in some of the best leagues. However, Jo and others made me feel welcome and were so supportive. I will forever appreciate that such a prolific player took the time to speak to everyone on the team no matter how big or small your role was. She helped me believe when I doubted myself and her messages over the years meant the world to me.”

Rehana Kahlil

“As a young athlete I was so eager to play basketball. I had no clue what I was doing but I wanted to get better and after school every day I would go to the gym, and I would always see her, working out, every day, going so hard. One day she came up to me after seeing me shoot and came to give me some pointers to help improve my shot. It’s a time I will never forget, because I always felt she didn’t have to, but she did. As a young female in basketball, I didn’t really see any women playing live or on television, I often idolised athletes like Kobe Bryant and Derick Fisher. To see her putting work into her craft and transferring that to the court was awesome to watch and instantly made me want to be better. I was fortunate to become her teammate years later, to only find out she works even harder than I thought she did! One story I will never forget is when she injured her shooting arm, and instead of resting, she practiced shooting with her non-dominate arm and killed in the following game! She was always someone that always battled injuries too, which limited how far she could go but no matter what she was still the first and the last person in the gym which I admired greatly.”

Ta’yani Clark

“Ta’yani has been my rival, my teammate and now one of my dearest friends and mentor. ’T’ is one of the most competitive, unselfish, talented players there has been in our league. Success literally follows this girl wherever she goes! In 2016 we played together for Team Northumbria, at this point I was her back up guard. We had reached the finals (mainly because of an amazing play she made in the semi-finals!) and a week before she gained an injury which prevented her from playing, which was a big blow for us. I was completely nervous as I knew it would be near impossible to fill her shoes, however she spent the whole week filling with me with so much confidence and advising me. Ultimately, we ended up winning the championship being the underdogs. After that game I was selected to trial for GB and I have so much to thank her for, as she taught me a lot and inspired me to become the player I am today.”