It’s been “a long time coming”. But Ben Gordon is here – and on board for Great Britain’s challenge in Lithuania in 2011.

That was the message from the newest addition to Team GB in Liverpool as he turned up to link up with his Great Britain team-mates for the first time – sitting behind the bench as they booked their spot at the 2011 Eurobasket finals.

“It was a bit surreal having him at practice and rebounding for us this morning,” admitted GB coach Chris Finch.

For those who have waited every summer for the Detroit Pistons guard to follow through with his pledge to turn out for the country of his birth, it felt strange too. No longer a pipedream, here was the Hammersmith-born Gordon in the flesh, clutching his UK passport, eager to affirm his commitment.

“Just to participate in an Olympics is special enough but to play it here in 2012, in the country I was born in, I don’t have words to describe that,” he declared. “My family would be really proud. It would be something special for me.”

Gordon still has family in the UK. After departing for New York at 12 months old, he made regular visits back to see his father Howard and the extended kin.

“But when I started to play competitively, I stopped coming because summer’s the time when you get better with all the (AAU) tournaments,” he recalled. “So I hadn’t been back for a while until two summers ago when I came to visit some family.”

His accent remains very much of the Big Apple. Gordon admits he doesn’t feel entirely British. “But there are a lot of great memories. Of different chocolates and the food. I remember eating fish and chips out of newspaper. I love British chocolate. It’s the best chocolate.”

He can stock up on all the Dairy Milks he can eat if BG helps GB in their cause to make an impression next summer.

Despite the stalwart efforts of Nate Reinking, Britain could utilise another shooter – especially an NBA calibre one – to stretch defences and take some of the load of Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Luol Deng, his former Chicago Bulls team-mate.

Deng has given him an overview of what to expect.

“He said it was hard because they just clog the lanes (in Europe),” Gordon said. “In the NBA, it’s different because you have to get out every three seconds. I’ve played international basketball before and I don’t think it’s that much of an adjustment. I think it will be easier for me.”

Maybe he will prove a lucky talisman. One appearance, one win. And ready to ride full-board in ’11.

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