Luol Deng is paving the way for a new generation of athlete – combining extraordinary talent, social responsibility and genuine dedication to a wide range of humanitarian and charitable causes.
In 2004, Luol was drafted into the NBA at only 19 years of age as the seventh overall pick for the Chicago Bulls where he played a pivotal part in the teams return to the playoffs for the first time since 1998.Contrary to popular belief, Luol’s passion and talent for basketball did not begin when his family moved to England in 1994, the first seeds were sown while Luol and his family where living Egypt. After fleeing the civil war in Sudan, Luol’s family moved to Egypt for four years, during which time he and his brothers received a visit from NBA legend and fellow Dinka tribe member Manute Bol.
Luol established The Luol Deng Foundation, in the UK and the USA, to help benefit the lives and places that have touched him and his family and to give back to the places that have contributed and played a huge role into his life’s journey and success. Luol has also been a recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the 2007 NBA Sportsmanship Award and is the Olympic Ambassador for the London 2012 Olympics.
Stats & Facts:
• Born in Sudan a member of the Dinka tribe, which boasts some of the tallest people in the world – Luol is 6’9 but his older brother Ajou is a staggering 7’0 ft
• Luol is the eighth of nine children
• The Deng family fled to Egypt to escape the civil war in Sudan, when Luol was just five years old
• Luol was scouted and offered a scholarship to Blair Academy in New Jersey and later went on to receive offers from over 100 colleges finally choosing to attend Duke University.
• In his first year of playing college basketball at Duke University, Luol was one of only two players in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to rank among the top 10 scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and blocks
• Luol is the tenth freshman in ACC history to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage
• Drafted as the 7th pick in 2004 to the Chicago Bulls, where in 2006/07, Luol was the only Bulls player to start all 82 regular game.
• Luol Deng has now just completed the best season (2010/11) of his career to date with the Bulls, where he didn’t miss a single game, playing in over 100 games helping them to achieve the best record in the entire NBA with an incredible 62 wins and 20 losses. Luol also helped the team reach the Eastern Conference Finals which they hadn’t achieved since 1993 which was also the first time for him in his career.
• Luol is now looking towards Team GB where he will be playing in the EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania this summer preparing for the London 2012 Olympics which will see Luol lead Team GB on the basketball floor in the worlds biggest sporting event. For him this is a huge ordeal as London is where he really started to pursue his basketball dream.
• As well as being approached to play in the England U15 squad for Basketball, Luol Deng was also asked to represent the country for Soccer when he just was 13 years old
• Luol was the first sportsman to be invited to the White House, since Barack Obama’s presidency and is in fact President Obama’s favourite basketball player (Guardian Newspaper)
• Although he now resides in America where ‘soccer’ is not as popular as the premiership is here in England, Luol Deng remains a huge Arsenal fan.
• Luol is a big fan of the Portugese peri-peri Nandos restuarants in the UK.