The Great Britain international’s intervention comes ahead of a scheduled debate on the issue in Parliament on Monday, two days before UK Sport are due to hear an appeal from senior figures in the governing body about their plans to give the national teams no financial support in the lead-up to Rio 2016.
Deng believes the moves would wreck all pretentions of a legacy from last year’s Olympic Games at a time when GB “are now being taken seriously on the world stage.”
And he says the move would destroy the ambitions of basketball for future generations.
‘The sport of basketball is a pathway, a pathway that teaches so many valuable lessons on and off the court,” the Chicago Bulls forward wrote. “How are we supposed to motivate these kids to carry along their journey when there’s now nothing at the end? No Team GB, no Olympic dream, no goal.
“You’re allowing a sport to be greatly harmed, a sport that can bring so much to so many and I won’t accept it. The sport needs more input from other resources I totally agree. But then let’s force the sport as a whole to live up to its promises and its potential.
“But we need this funding in order for that to happen. As I said, I get to see first hand what this sport can do for kids in the UK and it’s too valuable to be checked away.”
Deng’s plea has been backed by several other leading players. (Click below to read the full letter).
Meanwhile the former head coach of British Athletics Frank Dick has also called for a re-think on the funding decision.
Dick, who was forced out last year as chairman of ScottishAthletics, remains heavily involved in strategy consultancy in the world of sport and business, and he claims the result displays a short-termism after the progress the national teams have made in recent times.
“Are we to waste what has been a huge achievement? As Lincoln advised; If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening the axe,” Dick told Inside The Games.
“We surely have sharpened the axe over these six years and effected transformational change of the sport. We have responsibly prepared the ground. Without such a foothold, the quality of players, in quantity, that we need to play European and world-class basketball consistently, is naturally compromised.”
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