NBA Miami Heat Player Luol Deng Says British Basketball Has Bleak Future
British NBA Miami Heat player Luol Deng thinks that British basketball funding cuts "have left the sport at the point of no return," according to the PA. Following the 2012 Olympic Games, UK Sport announced that basketball "would no longer receive funding." In response to the news, Deng "has set up his own academy in partnership with Nike, Evelyn Grace Academy and Reforming Black Britain with the aim to produce elite basketball players." But, as defeat to Iceland last week meant Britain can no longer qualify for EuroBasket 2015, Deng admitted that "the future appears bleak." When asked if the sport was close to folding in the U.K., Deng said, “We are very close. At this point I don’t know what is next, we just have to wait and see what the plan is." Deng reckons basketball "is a sport which can give youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds the chance to flourish and the progression made over a short period of time should count for something." Deng: "This is an opportunity to really get a lot of young kids off the street and have them focus on a sport -- a sport that gives an opportunity to many, not just to a few" (PA, 8/26).