Earlier today, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) named two-time NBA All-Star and 2012 Olympian Luol Deng as its Global Ambassador. Following his retirement from an NBA career that spanned 15 years, Deng is tasked with helping to increase the BAL’s profile throughout the continent while using the sport as a vehicle to inspire African youth.
Originally from South Sudan, Deng was selected with the 7th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 2004 NBA Draft and was subsequently traded to the Chicago Bulls where he played from 2004-2014. He also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2014), Miami Heat (2014-16), Los Angeles Lakers (2016-18) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2018-19), before signing a one-day contract with the Chicago Bulls to retire as a Bull ahead of the 2019-20 NBA Season.
Deng is a two-time NBA All-Star (2012, 2013). He was a recipient of the 2007 NBA Sportsmanship Award and was named to the 2005 NBA All-Rookie First Team. Nationally, Deng represented Great Britain, playing on the national team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He also captained Team Africa in the NBA Africa Games in 2015 and 2017. He was elected South Sudan Basketball Federation President in November 2019. Speaking on the new role, he said
“I am honored to represent the BAL as the league’s Global Ambassador. 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.”
The inaugural BAL regular season will take place in Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir (Tunisia). Kigali (Rwanda) will host the first-ever BAL Playoffs and Finals. NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive on-court outfitter of the new professional league.
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report