Atlanta's Caribbean Connection

By Jordan Watters, Media Relations Intern

All of the Atlanta Dream players share a common love and admiration for the game of basketball. However, there is a special connection between two players: they have Caribbean backgrounds.

Aneika Henry and Sancho Lyttle are originally from the islands of Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, respectively. In their home countries, basketball was not a part of the sport culture.

When I was in Jamaica, I used to play cricket and soccer, Henry said. I used to play with my cousins and other family members just for fun. It wasnt something I was committed to in school.

Lyttle also recalls her upbringing as very fun, which is when her sports affinity developed.

We were always outside because we didnt have modern technology, she said. We had to play and do everything outside, so it was fun growing up. And any sport that came my way, I tried it. I played a little bit of soccer, cricket, netball, volleyball, and ran track for years. I think the one thing that I cant really do is swim too far.

For both of them, basketball was a sport they began playing as teenagers after they moved to the United States.

Henry came to the States at the age of 12 and learned to play when she was 16.

It took a lot of dedication, she said. It was a lot of hard work because I was new and it was my first time learning the sport. So I really had to put a lot of my time and effort into it.

Lyttle was introduced to basketball at the collegiate level when she was 18 years old. Since she played netball and ran track, the transition was not too challenging.

I think my athletic ability comes from track and field because I used to do high jump and long jump, so that part was easy, Lyttle said. But knowing the game, I had to learn it quick. Im still learning and until I die, I think Ill still be learning.

Due to Henry and Lyttles busy schedules, they are unable to return home as often as they want. But they each have goals of going back and giving back.

I want to start my own foundation in Jamaica to give back to the community, Henry said. I remember when I was young and in school, it was very hard for my mom to get my school uniform, books and other items. So I just want to give back to kids who are not privileged enough to go and buy their own school uniforms, book bags and other things.

Lyttle said, Im trying to go back home for a longer period and hopefully Ill have a group of friends that can play basketball. I told them that if I come for a longer time, I would try to teach them a little something, to pass on some knowledge.

There is no doubt that this dynamic Caribbean duo will continue to impact the Atlanta Dream, as well as represent their home countries with dignity.