The Bahamas has always been a powerhouse in sports, but this decade may have produced some of the best athletes we’ve ever witnessed.
We say this well aware of the risk of being considered prisoners of the moment or chased out of town with the pitchfork carrying “back in my day” crowd.
The 2010s saw Bahamians rise to the pinnacle in across a wide array of sports.
The decade never had a great nickname, we still have no idea where the VAT money gone and we’ll never figure out Junkanoo voting – but what the decade did have was several milestones moments by Bahamian athletes that placed this little country at the forefront of sport and made international headlines time and time again.
It’s almost as if we invest in an actual development plan to produce this repeated success (just kidding…we don’t. The people that sign those checks are completely apathetic to this stuff until there’s a good photo-op involved).
Here is the 10YS top athletes of the decade.
10. Tureano Johnson
Johnson came into the decade with high expectations after his performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He made his professional debut took place March 5th2010, where he defeated American Cleoney Fuqua on a 1stround TKO.
· Won vacant WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Title by Unanimous Decision against Mike Gavronski – July 11th2014
· Won vacant WBC Silver and vacant WBA International Middleweight Title at Madison Square Garden against Alex Theran by corner retirementJanuary 9th2015.
· Won NABF Middleweight Title by corner retirement against Jason Quigley July 7th2019
· Professional Record 21 Wins – 2 Losses – 1 Draw
9. Byron Ferguson
When you talk about breaking barriers few broached uncharted territory this decade like Ferguson.
His breakthrough to the professional ranks inspired other Bahamians like Eugene Stuart and Shonari Hepburn to follow his path.
· Played professionally in Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Israel, Greece, Montenegro
· Greece A1 League All-Star
· NORCECA Continental Championships Middle Blocker Award
· NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour
8. Jazz Chisholm
If you talk to anyone around Freedom Farm for the last decade and they’ll tell you they saw this one coming.
When his signing day came, Chisholm was far from the main headliner, but had had a meteoric rise up the ranks in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system.
Fast forward several years later and he became the top prospect in the Diamondbacks organisation and is likely on track to be the next Bahamian to break through to the majors.
· Made his professional debut in 2016 with the Missoula Osprey batting .281 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs along with 13 stolen bases in 62 games.
· 2016 PIO Mid-Season All-Star – Missoula Osprey
· Played for the Great Britain national team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers
· 2018 MiLB Organization All Star for the Arizona Diamondbacks – led all D-backs farm system players in home runs, and ranked among the leaders in runs (third), triples (fifth), RBI (seventh), slugging percentage (eighth) and walks (ninth).
· 2018 Midwest League Midseason All-Star – Kane County Cougars
· 2019 Southern League Postseason All- Star – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
· Added to the Marlins 40–man roster following the 2019 season
· No. 4 prospect in the Miami Marlins organisation
· No. 57 overall prospect in the MiLB
7. Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace
St. Andrews has been known for producing Olympic swimmers, but her drive and dedication helped her break barriers in swimming over the past decade.
Her intro at the 2012 Olympic final was fire enough to be on this list for the next decade. The entire 10YS team walks into meetings like that.
· Bronze Medal 2010 Short Course World Championships – Dubai
· 2 Gold, 2 Bronze Medals 2010 CAC games – Mayaguez
· 2012 Olympic Finalist – 50 Meter Freestyle – London
· 4 Gold Medals 2014 CAC games – 50m and 100m Freestyle and Butterfly -Veracruz
· Silver Medal 2014 Commonwealth Games – 50m Butterfly – Glasgow
· Bronze Medal 2015 – Pan American Games -100m Freestyle – Toronto
· Gold Medal 2015 – Pan American Games – 50, Freestyle – Toronto
· Set CAC Games Recordof 54.87 for the 100m Freestyle and 26.46 for the 50m Butterfly.
6. Antoan Richardson
After the road Richardson took to the majors, he deserved the ending he got in the Big Apple.
A journeyman in the minors for a decade before he broke through, Richardson’s story was one of perseverance and dedication.
He continues to make Bahamian baseball history in his post playing career making moves in the front office as a first base coach for the San Francisco Giants.
· Called up to the majors for the first time on September 4, 2011.
· Sixth player from the Bahamas to play in the major leagues
· Recorded his first career hit, a single to right field, off of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw in his first career Major League at bat
· November 13, 2013, signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees
· Promoted to the major leagues on September 2, 2014
· Scored the winning run on a walk-off single by Derek Jeter in the final Yankee Stadium at bat of Jeter’s career.
5. Deandre Ayton
This whole thing read like a subplot from a Disney movie – giant kid gets noticed at basketball camp, goes to America and becomes viral sensation, dominates competition we thought he was overmatched against, heads to a blue-chip program, then makes it to the pros.
We knew Ayton was a generational talent when he dropped 18 points and 17 rebounds on UNC at the Summer of Thunder at just 15 years old (The core of that UNC team went on to win the National Title 2 years later). There’s still a lot of Promise left to be fulfilled.
· Played for Senior Mens National Team – 2016 – Panama
· First Bahaman male to become a McDonalds All-American – 2017
· Jordan Brand Classic – 2017
· Consensus first-team All-American
· Pac 12 Player of the Year
· First-team All-Pac-12 (2018)
· Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (2018)
· Pac-12 Tournament MOP (2018)
· Number 1 overall Pick in 2018 NBA Draft
· Double-Doubles Rookie Record Suns – 38
· 1st Team All NBA Rookie Team.
4. Jonquel Jones
Jones took women’s basketball to the next level for the Bahamas and became a bonafide WNBA superstar. Her lists of “firsts” has her on pace to be the most decorated basketball player in Bahamian history.
She’s already the best rapper out of any Bahamian athlete ever and that may be the most important thing on her resume.
· Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (2015)
· Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year (2015)
· 6thOverall Pick 2016 WNBA Draft.
· 2× WNBA All-Star (2017, 2019)
· 2× All-WNBA Second Team (2017, 2019)
· WNBA Most Improved Player Award (2017)
· WNBA Peak Performer (2017)
· WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year (2018)
· 2× WNBA rebounding leader (2017, 2019)
· WKBL champion (2017)
· WKBL Finals MVP (2017)
· WNBA All-Defensive First Team (2019)
· WNBA blocks leader (2019)
· Led Connecticut Sun to 2019 WNBA Finals
3. Steven Gardiner
There was a point where Gardiner was an unknown teenager that came out of nowhere to break the junior national record in the 200m.
Then when he joined the Golden Knights at the World Relays, there were “who is this kid” murmurs everywhere in the Thomas A Robinson stadium…now he’s a world champion.
· Silver Medal – 2015 World Relays 4×400 – Nassau
· Bronze Medal – 2016 Olympics – 4×400 – Rio
· Gold Medal – 2017 World Relays – 4×400 – Nassau
· Silver Medal – 2017 World Championships – 400M – London
· 2018 National Record 19.75 – 200m – Hurricane Alumni Invitational – Miami
· 2019 Monaco Win
· Gold Medal – 2019 World Championships – National Record 43.48 – 400m – Doha
· 2019 World Number 1 Ranking 400m
2. Buddy Hield
From the local kid who played at the Hugh Campbell Tournament (something all Bahamian Basketball High School Players can relate to), to being discovered at the Darrel Sears camp.
His hard work and dedication is the reason why he is where he is today. He himself would tell you that he didn’t have the most talent growing up, but he has always had the ability to shoot the ball.
With the work he puts in on a daily basis, it’s to no surprise the signed the biggest contract in Bahamain Sports history this past summer at 94 million dollars. He will continue to wreak havoc in the NBA for the coming years.
· John R. Wooden Award (2016)
· Second-team All-Big 12 (2014)
· 2× First-team All-Big 12 (2015, 2016)
· 2× Big 12 Player of the Year (2015, 2016)
· Third-team All-American – AP, NABC (2015)
· Naismith College Player of the Year (2016)
· Oscar Robertson Trophy (2016)
· Sporting News College Player of the Year (2016)
· Took OU to 2016 Final Four
· Consensus first-team All-American (2016)
· Jerry West Award (2016)
· 2016 NBA Draft 6thoverall pick
· NBA All-Rookie First Team (2017)
· Helps Bahamas Defeat Dominican Republic 83-82 for first FIBA World Cup Qualifier Win
· Most Three Pointers Made for Kings In a Single Season – 245
· 601 Three pointers made in first 3 years – NBA Record
The dive, the hair, the Adidas drip, the poise, the grace, and the mark of a true superstar – identified by a single name (i.e Beyonce, Drake, Kobe, LeBron). From CARIFTA to the Olympics, Shaunae did it all in this decade.
· Gold Medal – 400M – 2010 CAC U17 – Santo Domingo
· Gold Medal – 400m – 2010 CARIFTA Games U17 – Cayman Islands
· Gold Medal – 400m – 2010 World Junior Championships – Canada
· Gold Medal – 400m – 2011 World Youth Championships – France
· Silver Medal – 400m/4x400M – 2012 – CARIFTA Games U17 – Jamaica
· Gold Medals – 200m/400/4x100m – 2013 CARIFTA Games U20 – Nassau
· Bronze Medal – 200M – 2014 World Indoor Championships – Poland
· Silver Medal – 400M – 2015 World Championships – China
· Gold Medal – 400M – 2016 Olympic Games – Rio
· Gold Medal – Mix Relay – 2017 World Relays – Nassau
· Bronze Medal – 200M – 2017 World Championships – London
· Gold Medal – 200M – 2018 Commonwealth Games – Australia
· 200M National Record – 21.74
· 300M World Best Record – 34.41
· 400M National and Area Record – 48.37
· Silver Medal – 400M – 2019 World Championships – Doha
· 2019 World Number 1 Ranking 200m