NBA All Star and former Croydon resident basketball player Luol Deng was in the capital today to launch the Luol Deng Academy, based at the Evelyn Grace Secondary school in Brixton.
Luol, who captained the Team GB squad at the 2012 Olympics and who has just signed for the Miami Heat in the US, was born in South Sudan which his family fled, settling in South London.
The Academy has been set up in reaction to the British government cutting all funding to the game in the UK. Deng wants to give talented young kids a proper path way into the professional game by offering professional training and for some of the most promising kids, scholarships into the US high school system.
In 2013 Luol sent an open letter to David Cameron asking him to reconsider pulling all funding, the letter got a large amount of media coverage but alas funding was completely cut.
UK Sport has agreed to give Olympic funding to the British basketball teams after an appeal. The teams had been told they would get nothing after they failed to make an impact at the 2012 Games.
However, following a campaign including support from star player Luol Deng, UK Sport have now agreed to provide some money to the sport. Deng had written to the Prime Minister to say that basketball's popularity amongst children would be harmed if the British team was not supported.