Taylor determined to be success for his daughter

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(5850616)

First published in Sport
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ZAIRE Taylor is not someone who conforms to the norm.

Even by basketball standards, it is fair to say the 27-year-old, who this week added the British Basketball League's most valuable player award to the Worcester Wolves equivalent he won last month, stands out from the crowd.

His array of brightly-coloured trainers and flamboyant style of play have won him an army of fans since arriving in the city last summer.

Affectionately referred to as "Uncle Zi" by the commentators at the University Arena, he has been an integral part of the most successful season in Worcester's history, which could yet see them add the play-offs to their BBL Trophy triumph.

For Taylor has a burning desire to be the best and push boundaries in his pursuit of success.

It is a hunger borne out sacrifice.

Two years ago, Taylor became a father and was ready to turn his back on his career to care for his daughter Tru.

With that in mind, opting to head to England and leave Tru in Delaware in the United States with her mother Brittany Bell, was not a decision taken lightly.

But he says he owes everything to his former partner and the point guard, who spent last season with Leicester Riders, is determined to make the most of his time away from "the most important thing in my life".

He explained: "When my daughter was first born I was the main carer because I was together with her mother at that time and she worked a full-time job.

"I decided I was going to retire and be a stay-at-home dad and was with my daughter about 23 hours a day.

"To leave that to come to England and start playing again weighs a lot on me. There are times where in order for me to do my job efficiently and to stay sane, sometimes I don't talk to my daughter as much as I should in order to be mentally prepared for basketball.

"I actually break down sometimes not being able to see the progression of her growing when I'm not there. I don't care how tough you are, that can make you break down.

"It weighs on me a lot but sometimes I've got to just focus on the game because this is what I do to provide for her. If I go out there and not play well then how much money am I going to make next year?

"It's all possible because of my daughter's mother. She's a single mother and she raises our daughter and allows me to follow my dreams. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be able to do any of this. We're not together but I'm still very appreciative of her.

"People see us play basketball but in the big picture there's a lot more things that are way more important in life than basketball.

"My daughter is the most important thing in my life but I have trust in her mother. Tru's incredibly smart and well taken care of.

"She does a great job raising our daughter. Without her I wouldn't do any of it and that's the reality. I owe her a lot."

Taylor, aiming to topple Sheffield Sharks in the BBL play-off semi-finals, continued: "When it's all said and done, I love it here in England and I wouldn't mind if I played the rest of my career here. I'm not too stuck in it to neglect any other options but I would be completely happy and content if I did.

"But I feel like for me to spend this much time away from my daughter has to mean something and I have do more than make money and provide for her.

"I have do more than just win championships and MVPs. I know a lot of people think I come over arrogant but I want to do something legendary.

"I'm not going to set my standard by what's been done before me, I try to assess what I think I'm capable of.

"If I'm going to be away from my daughter I've got to do something legendary and a good start would be winning the play-offs.

"That's what I'm here for and that's half the reason why it's so important to me."

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