Whilst the world is locked down during the coronavirus pandemic, two British basketball stars, Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, have been recording a series of live discussions, hosted on Instagram Live, and with their permission we are reposting to the Hoopsfix Podcast feed.
In Episode 5, aired on April 10th 2020, they did a part two on life in the pros, predominantly answering questions from fans.
Here from the pair on:
Pops dealing with being cut from teams and how much it hurt in his early career
How Pops was protesting the NBA when first getting to Italy, refusing to wear any NBA branded clothing
Luol processing being traded and how much it hurt after feeling he had given so much to Chicago
Luol Deng addressing the racist situation with the Atlanta Hawks’ Danny Ferry and how he approached it
Advice they would have for someone trying to get their young children into basketball
The role of mentorship and who has provided guidance to both Luol and Pops
Pops’ experience in the G-League and how he got called up by the Bulls and almost played with Luol
Both of their experience of racism playing in Europe
The mismanagement of Luol’s spinal tap by medical staff and how it put his life in jeopardy
How Chicago gave Luol two days to accept a contract offer mid-season, he didn’t want to be rushed into it (having tried to re-sign in the off-season prior to the season) and ended up getting traded
What happened with Luol with the LA Lakers, who had originally said they wanted to be a playoff team when he signed before they changed direction to tank
Luol staying professional in LA, working out and staying ready despite being stuck to the bench
Pops being released from Toronto and what he had tweeted on the night he could become a free agent
Pops’ situation in Russia with CSKA Moscow – where it was the most money he had earned as a professional athlete – who wouldn’t play him consistent minutes or release him to NBA teams
If any situations in their careers had caused them to want to quit basketball
What they did in their careers to look after their bodies and perform optimally
The time Luol’s Bulls matched up with Pops’ Raptors, and Pops went off – unfortunately Lu wasn’t playing
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