Whilst the world is locked down during the coronavirus pandemic, two British basketball stars, Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, set up a series of live discussions, hosted on Instagram Live. We hit their team up to ask if they would be happy for us to record and publish online and we got the green light!
In Episode 1, aired on April 1st 2020, they discussed the early stages of their basketball careers where they both started in England’s capital, London, with a lot of legendary stories of Luol at Brixton Topcats with Jimmy Rogers and Pops Mensah-Bonsu in Hackney with Joe White.
Hear from Luol and Pops on:
What made them decide to start an Instagram live show
Whereabouts in London they grew up
Endless banter about their favourite football teams – Luol’s Arsenal and Pops’ Tottenham
The impact sport had on their upbringing and trying to fit in
Why Luol was called Michael Deng growing up
When Luol switched back from Michael to Luol after getting to Blair Academy in the US
How and why Pops ended up telling people his name was Dwayne
The era of London basketball they grew up in and the competition
Pops first time seeing basketball was the WICB tournament at Crystal Palace
What drove them as teenagers and their mindsets
Pops learning the game under Joe White
Luol coming up under Jimmy Rogers and the Brixton Topcats community
The moment Luol Deng realised he had a shot at making it
Sneaking into Brixton Rec for workouts
The mindset shift that happened in Pops Mensah-Bonsu working out with Luol up close
A message to young basketball players in the UK who are trying to make it
How great of a junior player Richard Midgley was
The legendary Rough & Ready tournament held at Brixton Rec to showcase British talent
The North London vs South London rivalry
A 55-point loss that Luol Deng’s Brixton side had in Brighton as a youngster that was a turning point for him
The importance of garnering respect from their British peers growing up
The show has been approved on iTunes – find it here and please subscribe to automatically receive new episodes straight to your phone/computer/tablet – if you could give us a review/rating it would be much appreciated to help the podcast spread far and wide, meanwhile it is also on Spotify here, Overcast, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts.
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