Chicago Bulls All-Star Luol Deng, who happens to play for the British team during the summer, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron questioning the Olympic Association’s removal of any and all funding from the national team.
Playing catch-up: Despite a record $565 million investment by the UK for the Rio Games, the basketball teams are set to receive exactly $0, a cut of more than $13 million. The BOA instead decided to spread that money to teams they think have a better shot at medaling, like the very British sports of cycling, rowing, sailing, and equestrian.
“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,” Deng explained in the letter. “Taking myself and the other guys out of the equation, what about the future generation? Do not underestimate the fan base that this sport has in the UK.”
There is also a petition circulating that Deng has signed and encourages others to sign in hopes they can convince the government to notice basketball’s impact. It currently has more than 12,000 signatures, and includes the hashtage #fundbritishbasketball. Unfortunately, you need to be British to sign.
“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 grass roots and creating a route for young people to realize their dreams,” said the chairman of British Basketball. Read the full letter here.