Two-time NBA All-Star and former Great Britain international Luol Deng has seen his services to basketball recognised by an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours list.
Saturday 12 June 2021 09:07, UK
British basketball great Luol Deng has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours list for his services to the sport.
The two-time NBA All-Star, who retired from the league after 15 seasons in 2019, arrived in London as a refugee after escaping the civil war in South Sudan with his family.
He later grew up playing for Brixton Topcats under the late Jimmy Rogers before heading to America where he would continue his development with Blair Academy followed by D1 college programme Duke until eventually being selected by the Chicago Bulls seventh overall at the 2004 NBA Draft.
"I'm truly honoured to be awarded with the Order of British Empire joining such a prestigious group of people," said Deng.
"I will always be thankful for the opportunity provided by UK for me and my family as a refugee."
Deng, who represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games, is viewed as an integral figure in the rise of British basketball; he funds an annual 'Deng Top 50' summer basketball camp for the most gifted players in the country and has also launched the Deng Basketball Academy as a project stemming from The Luol Deng Foundation, which is designed to combine education with sport.
The 36-year-old averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 34.3 minutes per game across 902 games over 15 seasons with the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
He also played in the postseason seven times - six with Chicago and one with Miami - where he averaged 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists through 62 games.
The forward, now the coach of the South Sudan national basketball team, averaged double-figure scoring his first 12 seasons in the league, and he led the NBA in minutes per game in both 2011-12 (39.4) and 2012-13 (38.7), both seasons in which he was selected to be an All-Star.
He was named to the 2011-12 All-Defensive Second Team and the 2004-05 All-Rookie First Team and also won the Sportsmanship Award in 2006-07. Off the court, Deng was the recipient of the 2013-14 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, an honour given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to a player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.