Luol Deng, one of Great Britain’s greatest-ever players, has announced his retirement at the age of 34.

The two-time NBA All Star signed a symbolic contract on Thursday with the Chicago Bulls, the club where he spent nine seasons after being drafted in 2004, before confirming he would bring his career to a close.

Deng began his hoops odyssey at the Brixton Topcats club after arriving in London as a refugee from what is now South Sudan.

Having made the move Stateside, the forward made his international debut in 2007 and featured in the 2011 EuroBasket finals in Lithuania, where he was the leading scorer of the tournament. He then returned to his adopted hometown for the 2012 Olympics where he won the last of his 42 caps in a win over China.

Under Chris Finch, he averaged 21.7 points and 6.9 rebounds and is second in GB’s all-time scoring charts behind Dan Clark.

Deng played a total of 902 games in the NBA, averaging 14.8 points in spells with Chicago, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat, the LA Lakers and, finally, with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But he was granted a special request to pen one last deal with the Bulls where he enjoyed his greatest successes.

He said: “I want my basketball story as a player to end where it began, bookends to a dream come true. I can wholeheartedly say that one of the greatest moments in my life was being drafted by the Chicago Bulls. A childhood dream.”

Much respected for his off-court philanthropy, Deng is expected to concentrate on his own foundation, which runs basketball activities in the UK, USA and elsewhere, as well as his already-extensive social activism in Africa.

“From the moment we made Luol Deng the seventh overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls became a better team,” said the team’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson.

“Luol carried himself with first-class professionalism and leadership, helping lead his Bulls team to eight playoff appearances during his time in Chicago. We’ll always remember his All-Star career and the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night.”

Main photo: Ahmedphotos

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