From the outside looking in, the idea of being a professional athlete, paid to compete in the sport you love must rank up there alongside astronaut or chief product test at Cadbury's in terms of what kids want to be when they grow up.
The adulation from the crowd, the thrill of the competition, not to mention the handsome financial rewards for making it to the very top, all make for an inticing career path for those blessed with the talent and hard work to achieve their goals.
Athletes learn to accept the rough with the smooth, the highs with the lows. Poor form can come and go and injuries occur from time to time, but what happens when the game isn't fun anymore? What happens when the sport that once brought you so much joy and on whichyou pinned your hopes of a successful future turns into one that fails to fuel any passion inside of you?
It's a dilemma that fell upon the shoulders of one of British basketball's bright young talents, Helsby's former Cheshire Phoenix guard Devan Bailey, who has taken a leap of faith and swapped the basketball court for the octagon as he bids to make it in the professional mixed martial arts (MMA) ranks following a four-year pro basketball career in the BBL that included full honours for the Great Britain senior side.
Falling out of love
The 26-year-old ended his playing career in the sunny surroundings of the French territory of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, plying his trade for Saint Francois, a club that plays in the French league system.
The move to the Caribbean came about following a somewhat acrimonious departure from Phoenix in November of last year , with Bailey's desire to play more minutes on the court and try his hand at making his name in more established leagues overseas the motivating factor. But, almost a year on from leaving the Nix, a club where he was named MVP by the fans at the end of the 2013/14 season, former Helsby High School pupil Bailey finds himself embarking on a wholly different adventure.
"I just got a bit fed up with basketball and I fell out of love with it to be honest," said Bailey, who, a member of Manchester Fighting Fit, made a winning start to his MMA career last month in impressive fashion with a debut victory over Tim Walker.
"I felt like I needed a change as I'd been playing basketball for 10 years and I just didn't see any progression for me. I'd been playing in the BBL where the money wasn't great and I needed to make a decision about what I wanted from my life and what would make me happy. I'd always been interested in MMA and I thought I would give it a go and I'm so glad that I did.
Bailey's talent on the basketball court saw him called up to the senior Great Britain side in 2010 having been a regular feature in the junior sides from 2005 onwards. Former Great Britain senior head coach Chris Finch, now an assistant coach at NBA side Houston Rockets, once described Bailey as one of the brightest talents for British basketball.
Having honed his craft with the successful Manchester Magic programme during the mid-90s, through connections with the Magic Bailey completed his high school career in the States, at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, where he spent two seasons prior to embarking upon his collegiate career in 2009-10 at Central Connecticut State University.
He had a trial with Italian Serie A side Victoria Libertas Pesaro in 2011 before penning his first professional contract with the now defunct Mersey Tigers shortly after. From there he signed for the Manchester Giants in 2012 before making the move to the Northgate Arena with the Nix the following season, where his ability to effectively run the point endeared him to the Cheshire faithful.
But his love for the game has wained since, something that Bailey simply cannot see returning anytime soon.
"I'm really happy with the road I'm on now and I can't see me going back to basketball, I think I'm done with it now and it's not in my plans for the future," said Essex-born Bailey.
"For me I couldn't see any progression in the British league and it is tough to find opportunities overseas. I'm working hard to forge a career for myself in this now and the goal for me moving forward is to try and break into the professional ranks soon."
Out on his own
Having spent a decade functioning as part of a team, Bailey says he is enjoying being out on his own and responsible for his own destiny, adding that the fitness regime that he has employed over the years as a professional athlete has served him well on his new quest.
"I've always kept myself in shape and trained hard but the training and intensity is a lot different, but I think that it has helped me in some respects," he said. "Ive got a couple more fights lined up and it is just a lot of training but it is all about being in the right place.
"It's quite refreshing to be doing this on my own. I've been a part of a team for so long where you aren't always in control of what goes on. But in MMA I'm fighting for me, nobody else. There is nobody there to back me up or get me out of a tough spot, it's all down to me and me alone. There is something I like about that.
"You never know what the future holds and I've been really fortunate to have played basketball professionally, but that is done now and this is the new challenge for me and I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes me."