Ex-NBAer Byron Mullens plans to make himself right at home at London Lions.

The former Philadelphia 76ers and LA Clippers centre, as MVP exclusively revealed earlier this week, has signed on to spearhead the capital club’s quest in European competition in the Champions League, agreeing a one-year deal.

But the 31-year-old centre, who flew into the UK from his home in Ohio on Thursday, revealed that the decision to come to London was ruled by his heart as well as his head, with the additional lure of pulling on a Great Britain jersey as a tribute to his Mum Barbara who moved from here to the USA at the age of ten.

“My mum is from Middlesex and I’ve always had that emotional connection with the UK,” he told MVP.

“I really wanted to play for Great Britain in London in 2012 at the Olympics but I had a foot injury that kept me out. And then last year, I was in the GB squad but my team in Korea wouldn’t let me go, which I couldn’t understand.

“So that played a part in signing for the Lions. We have European qualifiers in November. I asked them if could I play, and they said absolutely.

“And they were ok with me going home in January for the birth of my son. So I’m excited that I finally get to play in the homeland.”

Mullens, who also featured for the Charlotte Bobcats and Oklahoma City Thunder as well as spells in Asia and Spain, will immediately link up with his new team-mates, including former Cleveland Cavalier DeAndre Liggins, as London continue their early start to pre-season in preparation for their European debut.

The plan, he insists, is to remain in London for the duration of the domestic campaign, dismissing any chatter that he will head for the exit whenever his new side depart the European fray.

And with the Lions’ wealthy American backers putting their money where their mouth is to build arguably the most expensive team ever seen in the British Basketball League, he is eager to repay their faith.

“They have big expectations,” Mullens said. “Nothing short of a championship in the BBL and their goals in the Champions League.

“Anything else would be a failure.

“I played with DeAndre Liggins who has signed there when we were at Sioux Falls and I was talking to him. And he told me everything in place is great. I was talking to Coach and we’re all on the same page. So now it’s about getting these guys what they want.”

Lions Head Coach, Vince Macaulay said:“Byron is the last piece of the jigsaw, he is big, has vast experience, shoots the ball so so well from distance and has played over 60 games alongside DeAndre Liggins in the G-League.

“We wanted very good players here in London but more than that we wanted good people. The work has started now, we are all chomping at the bit to put our style of basketball on the floor in every single game we play this season.”

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