South Sudanese-British former professional basketball player Luol Deng has been named Basketball Africa League (BAL) Global Ambassador.
A statement by the National Basketball Association (NBA) said that the appointment of Deng, a two-time NBA All-Star, will help raise the BAL’s profile across Africa and the world and inspire African youth through basketball.
Deng said he was honoured to represent the BAL as a Global Ambassador and was eager to help expand the reach of its brand.
“We have a tremendous amount of talent in Africa and I am excited that some of that talent will be showcased through our new league. I look forward to following some of the top African club teams when the inaugural season gets underway next month and supporting the BAL in expanding its footprint around the world,” Deng said.
BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall said he was thrilled to work with Deng, whom he called a great leader and inspiring role model.
“His remarkable basketball journey includes an extraordinary 15-year NBA career, two All-Star selections and participation in the 2012 Olympic Games. Luol has been an integral part of our youth development efforts and has taken part in many of our initiatives across the continent since 2011. We look forward to working with him to establish the BAL as a world-class professional basketball league,” Fall said.
Deng, 34, was born in Wau, South Sudan, and immigrated to Britain in 1993 as a refugee. He has played for the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Deng is the South Sudan Basketball Federation President having been elected to the position in November 2019. He also runs the Luol Deng Foundation, a non-profit organisation which uses basketball to transform the lives of young people in Africa, the UK and the United States.