British Basketball Performance Director Chris Price has admitted that there will be a huge price to pay in order for Great Britain star Luol Deng to play a part in the London 2012 Olympics.
Deng, 27, is arguably the best Basketball player to ever represent the Great Britain national team and the Chicago Bulls man has a colossal price on his head when it comes to being insured due to the sheer importance he has to Chicago in the NBA.
Price reserved special praise for both Deng and the Great Britain medical team, who Chicago Bulls will place their trust in when it comes to dealing with the Sudan-born forward.
He said: “Luol Deng is hugely committed to the British Basketball programme and he has maintained this stance despite recent pressure for him not to play after injuring his wrist during the highly-demanding shortened NBA season. We admire and support his stance. Luol is a true professional and manages his body extremely well as shown by the high amount of minutes he was able to play for his club after sustaining the injury in January this year.
“We [British Basketball] pride ourselves on having an expert medical team for all our players and he will receive the best possible care when he is with us. Our world-leading staff are now widely known and accepted in the greater basketball community and we have worked very hard to build this reputation over the last six years.”
Price then chose to criticise the NBA while committing to do everything he can to get Deng playing at the Olympics.
“The insurance to cover Luol is always expensive due [to] his high value, and due to the back exclusion placed on him by the NBA’s insurers some years ago. Our medical expert opinion remains that his back is no worse than others in the NBA but we have had to continue to cover this as we are contracted to do. Unfortunately, we have had no support from the NBA regarding this issue which remains a constant disappointment.
“His wrist situation will make this exorbitant premium even more expensive and we will have to make sacrifices to all our other programmes if we are to make this happen. It is difficult, but there is only one Luol Deng and there is only one London 2012 Olympic Games.
“I am optimistic that we will find an affordable solution so that the best basketball player Great Britain has ever produced by some margin is able to take his rightful place alongside his team mates in the London 2012 Olympic basketball tournament.”
If Great Britain are to have any chance of success on their own soil in the Basketball then they will need Luol Deng to be pulling on the Team GB jersey when it comes to the first tip-off of the opening game of the tournament.