? Deng was introduced to Basketball in Egypt after escaping from South Sudan, before the second Sudanese war began. Luol’s dad was a member of the Sudanese Parliament and later was granted political asylum and the whole family emigrated to Brixton, South London.
✨Aged 13, he played for England’s squad in the European Junior Men’s Qualifying Tournament
(averaged 40 points and 14 rebounds) and named tournament MVP
? “I remember my brother kept trying to get me to go and I kept dodging him and I kept making excuses. Finally, I went with him and started practising and started playing with the older guys until Jimmy came over and he was like: ‘You have a chance to be something special.’
✨ “I’ve never worked as hard as I did in Brixton. Jimmy really pushed us to the limit. There were times when I felt like it was a little too much but, as I got older, I realised that I am who I am because that was part of me.”
✨”It’s a small community and we are all really proud of where we come from. We were all taught basketball by Jimmy and since day one, the way we were taught is the way we grew up. We all have similar characters and that’s because of Brixton basketball and the foundation that was put together – the discipline, the hard work.”
? At 14, Deng moved stateside and attended Blair University, New Jersey.
? Duke University (2000/04) accepted a athletic scholarship and played for Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils basketball team
? After one year at Duke, he entered the 2004 NBA draft. Picked seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns, but traded to Chicago Bulls (2004-2014)
?? Won the 2006–2007 Golden Icon Award for Best Sports Role Model.
?? 2008 UN Refugee Agency’s Humanitarian of the Year Award
? Coach Thibodeau has consistently called Deng the “glue” that holds the Bulls together. “Luol’s professional. He practices hard. He prepares well. He studies his opponent. He is great at executing offensively and defensively. He’s helped this team get better every day,” said Thibodeau
? Deng played for Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Lakers
? Deng signed a one-day contract with the Chicago Bulls and retired from the NBA (October 18 2019)
In 2014, Luol founded D3N9 a private investment company, largely concentrated in US, real estate investment. In a 2019, Forbes declared Luol as “the NBAs Unlikely Real Estate Mogul” spotlighting an expansive portfolio of acquisitions, development, hospitality and resorts.
Across the duration of his playing career, Luol demonstrated a lifelong commitment to social impact and humanitarian aid, with the Luol Deng Foundation (LDF) as his vehicle for change. Founded in 2005, LDF is a multi-regional social change organisation based in the UK, US, and South Sudan.
Luol was elected President of the South Sudan Basketball Federation in 2019 and named as the ambassador for the new Basketball Africa League (The BAL)
“In life, we are so lucky if we find someone who believes in you and is willing to give everything to see you reach the top. Jimmy, you lived such a beautiful, blessed life: you were strong, confident, you knew how to be tough and how to love, and you knew how to be a leader. I’m so thankful that God gave me a chance to be a part of your life. You left me with so much to be thankful for, most of my close friends I met because of you, and we will continue your legacy. You will forever be a part of us. I can only picture you sitting back resting and laughing from being so blessed. I know when we meet again, we will do it all over.
#DriveTheBody Rest In Peace, Jimmy. I love you with all my heart. ♥”