Basketball legend Kieron Achara says his 'wee mum' will always be his Pride of Scotland

Basketball giant Kieron Achara is one of the nation’s greatest ever sportsmen and says he owes it all to his “wee mummy”.

As a super-sized mixed race kid growing up in Stirling, the 6ft 10 sport star didn’t always have it easy and admitted if it wasn’t for his mum’s support he would never have realised his basketball dreams.

Kieron, 40, played 75 times for Scotland, was capped 105 times for Great Britain, played at the London Olympics in 2012 and led the national team to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The dad-of-two, who is one of this year’s Pride of Scotland judges, said he couldn’t have done any of it without his hero Marion, 66, who has shored him up every step of the way.

Not only did she pass her own talent for the sport onto her son she also scrimped and saved to make sure he didn’t throw away his chance to make it big.

Kieron, who started playing the game as a 15-year-old schoolboy and at 16 became the youngest ever Scottish national team player, said: “My personal Pride of Scotland is my wee mummy. She did amazing things for me and my brother Idris growing up. No matter what challenges we faced her resilience shone through.

“My mum will always be my unsung hero. The grind that she has put in for me and my brother has allowed us to become the people we are today and for that I will be forever grateful. She’s our star.”

The forward, who is now Technical Lead at the British Basketball Foundation, started his career at Falkirk Fury and went on to play for Duquesne College in the US and clubs in Italy, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria. He retired from basketball in 2019 after 11 years with the Glasgow Rocks.

Off the court, Kieron, who is dad to Adelyn, 10, and Braylon, five, has mentored young British players from the early days of his international career, providing advice and support while helping them to improve their skills.

He also gives regular talks in schools and colleges, inspiring the country’s next generation of ballers.

In 2020 the former Rocks skipper, who last year launched a new Show Racism The Red Card campaign to celebrate migration and diversity in sport, was awarded an MBE for his Services to Community Sport in Scotland.

Kieron, who is married to former nurse Megan, is looking forward to this year’s Pride of Scotland Awards and emphasised the importance of recognising the nation’s unsung heroes.

He said: “I’m a big supporter of the awards. I have been a guest at the last two events and this year I had the honour of being on the panel of judges.

“It’s so important to acknowledge and validate the hard work people across Scotland are doing as it is contagious and has a ripple effect, inspiring others to spread good.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of unsung heroes - everyone from basketball coaches and teachers to my mum. All these little touch points allowed me to keep going and that is the beauty of life.

“A lot of people think the big moments make a difference but it’s the small moments that really help people. I have that mentality about helping people and giving back as it really does help society.”

Kieron, who is of Nigerian descent, added: “What I am looking forward to most about this year’s Pride of Scotland is seeing peoples’ faces when they get their awards especially as they have never set out to achieve recognition.

“I also have a huge soft spot for the Children and Teenagers of Courage as they too have dedicated their lives to helping and inspiring others. The winners in all the categories this year are unbelievable.”

THE countdown is on to the Daily Record Pride of Scotland Awards with TSB which will take place on Monday, May 20 at the Hilton, Glasgow.

And today we are giving one lucky Sunday Mail reader the chance to win a VIP experience which includes two tickets to the glittering event and an overnight stay at the Hilton.

The winner will get to walk the red carpet with this year’s winners and mingle with the nation’s biggest celebrities before enjoying a gourmet dinner and VIP seats at the awards.

Travel to the event up to the value of £150 will also be included.

To be in with a chance of winning scan the barcode below and fill in your details. The closing date is midnight on Tuesday, April 23.