In what was the strongest showing of his commitment to the Great Britain basketball programme thus far, NBA baller Ben Gordon attended the GB-Bosnia & Herzegovina game on Thursday and told the press he is “looking forward to playing, hopefully next summer”.
“I’m excited, part of the main reason I wanted to come out to catch at least one of the games before the summer was over is because I’m fully committed and I’ll playing as soon as I’m healthy enough to. The past few summers the team has been expecting me to play but I haven’t been able to make it, so it’s been a long time coming. I’m definitely excited and looking forward to playing, hopefully next summer.”
The ankle injury that has prevented him from joining the team this year is currently at about 85% and expected to be fully healed for the Detroit Piston’s training camp that opens in a month.
Playing in the Olympics in 2012 would mean a lot to the 6’3 guard who left the UK when he was 10 months old and has returned sporadically to visit family.
“Just to participate in the Olympics alone would be amazing,” he explained “but to play here, 2012 in the country I was born in, I don’t have any words to describe that. My family would be really proud, it would be something very special for me.”
The addition of Ben Gordon to an already strong Team GB would be monumental and ease a lot of pressure off Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Asked what he feels he would bring to the team he said:
“Everything that I’m capable of. My ability to make plays, my ability to score, my knowledge of the game, I think I’ll be able to bring a lot. Probably even more than in the NBA, the level of the competition is great but on this team we’re not all pro players so my role will probably be a lot larger. From talking to Luol, it seems like he has to do a lot, so I’ll be able to come in take some of the pressure off Luol and some of the other guys who are playing heavy minutes and are relied on a lot to pretty much do everything for the team.”
And how much better would he make us?
“He gives other people space, if we had Ben and Luol, if we had a fully armed lineup last summer, people were saying that if you were fully loaded that’s one of the 5 teams that can win European championships,” explained Great Britain Team Manager Ron Wuotila. “To say that about a Great Britain team is quite a statement-he makes us a lot better.”
Excited at the prospect of seeing Ben Gordon finally in that Great Britain uniform? What role do you see him playing? Will he make GB a European championship contender? Drop a comment below and let me know!