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Luol Deng to lead trio of NBA players on British Olympic team

Apr 10, 2012, 7:31 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Great Britain is not a basketball powerhouse.

But as the Olympic games are in London this year their usually forgotten national basketball team — overshadowed by the likes of Spain, France and Greece — gets a spot in the big dance. British hoopsters are Olympics bound.

And they will have three NBA players on the squad, the team announced — Chicago’s Luol Deng, Detroit’s Ben Gordon and Charlotte center Byron Mullins are on the nation’s preliminary list of 21 players. Hard to think any of them doesn’t make the squad if healthy.

Great Britain is not going to medal, and almost certainly won’t even get out of pool play. But there were concerns that they could embarrass themselves. They had to prove to FIBA in international tournaments they even deserved the host’s berth.

With those three guys, they are not going to embarrass themselves. And Gordon is even the kind of guy on a hot day can almost win a game by himself.

This is going to be a fun summer tournament (and you can keep up with all of it at PBT… but we’ve got to get through the NBA playoffs before we turn our focus there.

  1. adzs93 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    The worry wasn’t really that we would embaress ourselves but rather that we’d fail to be competitive at our home games; However, our showing at Eurobasket and the Olympic testing event has allayed any such concerned, and even led to some optimism. Also, although Gordon will have a much bigger impact, the addition of Mullins is a lot more interesting, seeing that with his addition we’ll have 4/5 6’11+ guys available to man the 4 and the 5 at any given time, which should cause some problems for our opponents
    Source = I’m English (If you hadn’t guessed already ;D)

  2. comeonnowguys - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Is he still going to be playing with basically one arm by then?

  3. glink123 - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    hate to see Deng sacrifice the Bulls 2012-2013 NBA season for this. I understand and applaud his patriotism, but this year and next year are the final years this Bulls team will have this core group of players. after next season, Asik, Korver, Brewer, and Watson all have expiring contracts, and Gibson and Hamilton will both only have one-year team options remaining. with the exception of Hamilton (age), all five of these guys will command significant attention around the league, and financially, the Bulls will only be able to keep one or two of them (Asik and Gibson). If they don’t get past Miami this year or next year, they’re going to be stuck watching from home for the remainder of LeBron and Dwayne’s contracts.

    • redbaronx - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:23 AM

      @glink – Let’s get real. What does any of this have to do with Deng playing for the UK? You mention Asik, Korver, Brewer, Watson, Gibson…..none of this has anything to do with Deng. Let the man play for the UK and be happy for him! Seriously! You’re going to begrudge the UK getting what little stars they can get on their squad for the once in 4 years Olympics just because you’re a Bulls fan? The man escaped civil war in Sudan where people are getting killed every day, and the UK gave him asylum, a home and a place to play ball, and you’re worried about him playing for the Bulls in 2012-2013? A little perspective please!

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