Previous ArticlesMichael Jordan gives a Hall of Fame address
Deng excited about Bulls' trip across the pond
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Oct 1
By Adam Fluck
CHICAGO—It has already been a busy preseason for the Chicago Bulls, and they have yet to hit the international portion of their schedule as the NBA regular season approaches.
Following Media Day, five sets of back-to-back practice sessions, and the team’s first preseason game in Indianapolis Friday against the Pacers all in one week, the Bulls will depart for London on Saturday evening to participate in NBA Europe Live 2009.
The four-day trip will culminate on Tuesday, Oct. 6, when the Bulls face the Utah Jazz at The O2 arena (1:30 p.m. CT on NBA TV). Tickets for the game are on sale now at www.theo2.co.uk or by calling 0844 856 0202.
Since the 1993 preseason games at Wembley Arena—the first NBA games in Europe—London has hosted four NBA games and seven teams. The Bulls last played in Europe at the 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris following the team’s fifth NBA title.
For Bulls forward Luol Deng, the game in London is a homecoming of sorts.
Deng’s father, Aldo, served in the Sudanese parliament and became the country’s Minister of Transportation before moving to Egypt to avoid Sudan’s civil war. In 1993, when Deng was eight years old, his father was granted political asylum in England. A new life in London began for Deng, and now, he couldn’t be happier to go back.
“I’m really excited that we get a chance to play in London,” Deng said as training camp opened. “I grew up there, and to have a chance to play in front of friends and family is exciting for me. I’m excited for the guys; taking a trip like that can bring you together as a team.”
He excelled at basketball and soccer as a youth living in South Norwood, but his play on the hardwood is where he truly made his mark. At the age of 14, he moved to the United States and enrolled at Blair Academy in New Jersey, where he was eventually ranked as the second best high school senior behind LeBron James. Following one season at Duke, Deng opted for the NBA and wound up with the Bulls via a draft night trade.
Deng is prepared to be a tour guide of sorts in London, and plans to do his best in showing his teammates around. He added that he expects a warm welcome from the natives.
“I’m also really excited for the fans in London,” said Deng. “There are a lot of Chicago Bulls fans there. Chicago is such a known team and it’s unbelievable how many fans we have in London.”
A member of the Great Britain national team, Deng has long been eyeing the summer of 2012, when London will host the Olympics. But he’s also got a keen interest in the 2016 summer games.
“I really hope it happens,” said Deng of Chicago’s 2016 bid, which will be announced Friday morning from Copenhagen.
Deng pitched in with the city’s campaign efforts, filming public service announcements earlier this summer.
“This is my sixth year in Chicago and I can’t say how much I love the city,” he said. “I think Chicago is ready to host it.”
Visit Bulls.com and Blogs.Bulls.com for complete coverage on the Bulls’ trip in London—including blogs, photos and video—from the team’s arrival on Sunday to the game against the Jazz on Tuesday.