Freeland: 'UK Sport Not Showing GB The Respect They Deserve' -

Freeland: ‘UK Sport Not Showing GB The Respect They Deserve’

Portland Trail Blazers and GB star Joel Freeland has voiced his displeasure at UK Sport’s recent decision to cut British Basketball’s funding to 0 and worries that an entire generation of talent could be lost without financial backing for the elite arm of basketball in Britain.

“That’s not showing the team the respect that they deserve,” said Freeland referring to the recent decision by the high performance funding body. “We did a lot of things as a GB team. We went down to the wire with Spain, the second best team in the world, on numerous occasions. So I don’t know (why they cut the funding).

“It’s disappointing, it really is. They’ve (British Basketball) been trying so hard for a number of years now, pretty much since when I was first with the programme, 7-8 years ago now, trying so hard to further the sport in England and doing anything they can and there’s always been blocks in the road and things in the way of furthering the sport.

“It’s frustrating at times, you know, because, it’s just obstacle after obstacle and this is another obstacle. They pulled the funding and wow, it’s just something else to get over. It’s a frustrating thing.”

Freeland, who has recently returned from injury and will be facing off against Houston in Game 1 of their Western Conference first round series in his NBA Playoffs debut on Sunday night, worries of the long term implications of a lack of funding to the future generations.

“I think so (that it’s fair to say we could lose a generation of talent). I think there’s more players now in the UK interested in the sport than there ever was when I was young first joining the GB team. You can tell by the support that we have over the Olympics, you would never have that kind of support back in my first year with the English team at the time.

“The type of support that we had during the Olympics was just incredible. You see it every day with the kids at the NBA events at the O2 or Manchester, the places are full, people that are genuinely interested in the sport so it’s a shame they decided to pull the funding.”

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