British

Luol Deng Writes Open Letter To PM to Prevent “Demolishing” of Basketball Legacy

January 28, 2013 12:14 pm 20 comments

by Sam Neter

Luol Deng GB vs Spain OlympicsTeam GB and Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng has written an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron calling on him to reverse the UK Sport funding decision that saw British Basketball receive zero financial backing for the next Olympic cycle.

In the letter, published in the Daily Mail, he wrote:

“We all heard about the “legacy” that London 2012 was going to bring to sport in the UK and I refuse to sit back and let that legacy be completely demolished for basketball.

“I, along with other people involved in the game, have put too much in and care too greatly to let this happen.

“The sport of basketball is a pathway, a pathway that teaches so many valuable lessons on and off the court, how are we supposed to motivate these kids to carry along their journey when there’s now nothing at the end? No Team GB, no Olympic dream, no goal.”

The letter comes ahead of an adjournment debate, secured by Stephen Mosley MP, in the House of Commons tonight and British Basketball’s ‘informal representation’ to UK Sport on Wednesday where they will appeal their case.

Depending on the outcome of this meeting the sport will make a decision about lodging a formal appeal, which would then be heard by the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel.

Luol also is backing the Fund British Basketball campaign, encouraging as many people as possible to sign the online petition. If you haven’t already, you can do so here.

You can read Luol’s letter in full (courtesy of the Daily Mail) below:Letter from Luol Deng to David CameronLetter from Luol Deng to David Cameron

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

London2012 January 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm

This is a great letter from Luol but he does not mention there if he will play for team GB in the future. Without him and Freeland our team is pretty average at best.

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Tom McDonald January 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm

This is a total own basket! Those old fools at GBBB found one of the few people with a salary greater than their own to write a letter asking for public funds! Do they honestly think given the economic climate, joe public is going to have sympathy with a bloke whose net worth is in the region of $50m saying tax payers money should be used to further his career in the sport? We needed to have ex-gang members or estate kids write about how basket ball helps them become something….
– but then, if GBBB cared about the kids, they’d cut their own salaries, not the youth programs. If there’s one good thing which will come from the funding cut, it will hopefully be the end of GB BB.

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London2012 January 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I fully support your view!

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Rob January 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The biggest problem in British basketball is people who would rather see everything torn down so they can be seen to be ‘right’ than have anything good ever happen.

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Tom McDonald January 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Far from it Rob, those of us who care enough about the sport on these isles know that it’s more than £100k a year administrator salaries, first class travel, 5* hotels and north american talent scouts looking for NBA stars with English grandparents. If we’re going to move forward and grow our base, the resources we have need to be deployed on getting people interested – build courts, train refs, get TV deals, find corporate sponsors… but all GB BB seem to want to do is get money to maintain their plush offices and expenses credit card! They do indeed need to be torn down, before they kill basket ball here dead.

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Rob January 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Respectfully, you make the mistake of assuming that you’re the only one who cares, and that you’re the only one who has figured out what’s wrong. There is a litany of things that GB have done wrong, but even less will be achieved by a 100% funding cut to the national team programme. The wrong fight at the wrong time will do even more harm than anything that has already occurred. We need to save our internal battle for another time. In my opinion, of course.

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Tom January 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Yes, you are correct. For all the wrong things GB bosses did,I did not see anywhere a single word from them admitting it. On the contrary,they say that they have made huge progress! Actually, it;s the coaches and the players who did OK, the managers overspent and made many wrong decisions. Now we are fighting to keep their jobs safe.

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Tom McDonald January 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Respectfully, I’m Scottish, so I don’t consider GB to be my ‘national’ team ;)

But whatever the future holds, the fact is that Basketball had a once in a lifetime opportunity with London 2012 – and GB BB have wasted it for all of us. Now, do we fight to keep things as they are, or do we stand back and re-evaluate and make a proper long term review? It’s very unlikely we’ll qualify for Rio, which means if GB is to continue to do anything other than come in the bottom half of Eurobasket, we need have a plan for 8-12 years. Do GB BB have this? No, they just want to drop U20s and slash youth funding.

What is the point of merging the national team for a side which is only going to do worse than if we stayed independent?

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Fan January 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Would you please elaborate?

Who, exactly was/were paid 100K a year salary and how many were? Who stayed in 5* hotels and which hotel(s). Who travelled first class and how many North Ameican talent scouts were there and how much were they paid. Does GB have plush offices somewhere and have GB credit cards?

I would be more than interested to learn the correct answers.

I fully agree re building courts, train refs, etc., but that will be difficult as the England funding was cut.

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Thomas D January 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Well – GB Basketball don’t publish accounts, so there’s no way of knowing exactly where the £12m sports funding has gone (+ reported £2m standard life sponsorship money). But it’s been widely speculated that Spice is on £120k and at least 2 other board members are on £100k+ – while the other 8 earn in the region of £60 – £80k a year. Like I said, they don’t publish what they pay themselves, so all just speculation/ leaks from various BBs on the web.

Their offices are in Central London, just off Russell Square, again – they don’t publish accounts, but a bit of research shows space in the same block costs £45.50ft2. Average size office for 10 employees = £224k a year. Maybe they did a deal and have a special rate, who knows.

There’s various reports about North American ‘elite’ camps and Canada based scouts – I don’t know whether they stayed in the Hilton or Holiday Inn, whether they flew first class or whether Tom McDonald was simply trying to make a point. If GB BB published accounts we’d all know where all those tens of millions went, but they don’t and there’s apparently none left – so all we know is little’s been invested and the rest we can only speculate about where it’s been wasted.

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Tom January 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

I’ve heard similar figures, Spice for sure is earnng huge money, Moreland also. This is the real fight – to save their jobs!

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KenowBBer January 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Ron Wuotila is the name of the Canada based ‘performance director’

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JohnB2 January 29, 2013 at 8:37 am

And how much he earned from GB?! And what did he do exactly?!

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JohnB2 January 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The actual withdrawal of funding by UK Sport is in my opinion a vote of non-confidence in the people running the programme. Therefore, I think that the best way to convince them to reconsider would be to guarantee that there will be changes and new leadership. The new people should focus on developing potential and talent from the inner cities (as stated by Roger Moreland) rather then just use this as an argument to get funding and use it for themselves after! There is no accountability unfortunately, neither even a basic report on the GB website – all other sports submitted theirs and have been public.

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JohnB2 January 29, 2013 at 8:27 am

I would like to see the salary break down of the GB board members and staff, coaching staff excluded. Bearing in mind that these people only worked in the summer months and had very little responsibilities the rest of the time, never delivered the top players and failed to develop youth talent and coaches in the UK, it is definitely our right to know how much was wasted on them. When counting the money spent, we must also consider the grants given to the AASE´s and EB´s and SB´s performance funds. I am sure that no other country has spent so much money (well over 20 million!) in a few years and have nothing to show for it. Leaving the same people in charge would be criminal.

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Open mic January 29, 2013 at 11:34 am

Why hasn’t he wrote to UK Sport who are making these decisions??

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Open mic January 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

Luol Deng on BBC: “Basketball in UK is the best it’s ever been”. -hilarious… Pretty sure it’s about the worst it’s ever been.

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JohnB2 January 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Don´t blame Luol, he does not live in the UK to know how bad the situation is…

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Paul Tickner January 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Luol didn’t have to do this and should be given full credit for trying to make a contribution. He is the greatest basketball success story ever to come out of this country and the basketball community here should continue to help him in his role as a fantastic ambassador for the sport. We can argue about the performance of the GB management until we are blue in the face but the crux of the matter is that without further funding there will be no chance to review practice in the proper manner. The GB basketball initiative has been undoubtedly a good thing and its loss will be a severe blow. Of course there are many ways in which basketball could be improved in this country but right now the absolute priority must be retaining some funding.

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Alex January 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I totally agree with reference to Luol and he has been great for basketball in the UK. Funding is very important indeed but it´s a positive only if used correctly. Therefore, changing the current management is crucial and avoiding the mistakes of hiring people like Wuotila vital. We want to see a well organised elite structure lead by someone who has actually achieved something big in basketball. In my humble opinion, this person should come from Europe and not from another continent as in the next 3-4 years we will be competing with European nations. The “London ride” is well and truly over and the real work must begin now.

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