NBA Player Luol Deng Pens Letter To British PM David Cameron In Olympics Funding Plea
NBA Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, of Britain, "piled into the debate about funding for Olympic team sports in a personal letter" to the Prime Minister, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The 27-year-old, who came to Britain as a refugee from Sudan as a child, "pleaded with David Cameron not to 'chuck away' the legacy of the London Olympics, where the men’s and women’s teams competed to packed houses." His letter "was published ahead of an informal appeal" by British Basketball on Wednesday "against the decision by UK Sport, the funding agency for elite athletes, to cut its funding" from £8.6M ($13.5M) over the London cycle to zero in the run-up to Rio 2016. Deng, who played in the 2012 Olympic team, said he found the decision "deeply upsetting and confusing" and would support a petition to try to overturn it. Deng said, "I truly feel like we are starting to put British Basketball on the map, and we are now being taken seriously on the world stage" (LONDON TIMES, 1/28).
PLENTY OF SUPPORT: The London EVENING STANDARD wrote the player's support "has been hailed by British Basketball." The body's performance Chair Roger Moreland said: "Luol's support for us is massively important. He recognizes the value of funding, not just for the elite levels of sport but to carry on investing in grassroots and creating a route for young people to realise their dreams." British Basketball "is also considering lodging a formal appeal to the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel" (EVENING STANDARD, 1/28).