If you didn’t know already, I’m English. Basketball is my passion and that’s why I write about the NBA. But the basketball system is much different in the UK than in the US.
‘UK Sport’ fund sports here based on their chances of medal success at the Olympic Games. Last year, basketball lost it’s funding of £8 million because we had ‘very little chance of success’ in Rio.
Now I’m not going to turn around and say Great Britain are the best at basketball in the world, because we know which country is. We do have 2x All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, and Joel Freeland who played for the Portland Trail Blazers before coming back to Europe to continue his career. Most of the British players play here in Europe. We do currently have over 100 British players across the American Colleges, all of which gained scholarships to be there.
So we are not short of talent; and back here in Europe basketball is the second highest played team sport among 14-16 year olds, with over 218,000 people playing each week. That’s a big number.
Unfortunately, without funding from UK Sport the grassroots system is weak and there are limited opportunities for young players to take their game to the next level. But there is a high level of participation here, and lots of people follow the NBA here.
I want to make a change. I believe UK Sport should re-evaluate their funding of different sports, and base it on the level of participation, rather than the chance of success at the Olympics. I have created an online petition for Basketball to re-gain funding in the UK, and it is open for anyone to sign. If you believe that basketball deserves funding, then sign the petition.
Our star players, such as Luol Deng, cannot play for Great Britain without the funding, as we cannot afford to insure him without it. British basketball will never be successful without the funding, and young players have a smaller chance of success without it. You can help them.
I’m calling for all basketball players around the world to join forces to make a change. This isn’t just about basketball, this is about people’s lives.
If you can take 30 seconds of your time to sign the petition, that will make all the difference. It’s free to sign.