Blake Bowman

Basketball star Blake Bowman says GVC Holdings and SportsAid’s support will make him successful when his days shooting hoops come to an end.

The 18-year-old was crowned MVP in the Elite Academy Basketball League after a thrilling season for Derby Trailblazers, where he scored the second highest number of points in the league’s history.

The sky is the limit for his career but Bowman believes the mentoring SportsAid provide is just as important as the financial investment.

“Let’s say I retire at 32, I still have so much longer of my life to live and it’s not all about basketball,” said Bowman, one of 50 beneficiaries of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“Being a well-rounded individual is more important than the sport itself – basketball is going to stop at one point, so I’m going to have to have different skills I can use in life to help me get by.

“That’s all more important than basketball itself – at the end of the day, the ball’s going to stop bouncing.”

Supported by Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, GVC announced a three-year partnership with SportsAid last year to help young athletes realise their potential and promote grassroots sport.

The investment will provide funding for training, travel and equipment and allow athletes access to mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.

In receiving SportsAid support Bowman is following in the footsteps of Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Dame Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds OBE – and Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty MBE more recently – who all treaded the same pathway.

GVC and SportsAid’s support provides a welcome confidence boost for young athletes and Bowman reckons that, coupled his new basketball boots, can take him all the way to the summit.

“The money helped me buy new basketball shoes as they’re quite expensive!” he added.

“And the support really helps me understand that I have quite a bit of responsibility, so it pushes me further to do more and motivates me more.”

GVC is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, GVC are supporting a diverse group of 50 UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.