Luol Deng has earned his share of pounds sterling. And, not a tuppence has made it to his pocket. Instead, he has earned the respect of a nation. If he keeps it up, it might be Sir Luol someday soon.
Great Britain basketball is one victory away from promotion to the upper tier of European basketball and a chance to qualify for the 2010 FIBA World Championship to be played in Istanbul in the summer of 2010. In all likelyhood, this summer's work will cement a slot for GBB to earn a place in the 12-team 2012 Olympic basketball tournament in 2012 as host.
The Times' Ian Whittell has followed Chris Finch's squad throughout the summer, working his way from Belarus to Albania to Sheffield and back to Geneva for the capper this weekend.
While the eyes of euro-basketball have been fixed on Madrid for Eurobasket 2007 the Lords of Olympic basketball have been hoping that GBB earns their way to a (very) respectable finish and a successful march towards Turkey.
The issue remains? Should the host country get an automatic berth in the relatively 'small' 12-team Olympic basketball tournament? Should it be written to have both men's and women's teams?
Should the Olympic basketball tournament be increased to 16 teams? That is 192 more athletes for men and 384 more athletes if the same increase is made for the women's side.
Believe it or not, organizers are seeking ways to reduce the size of the Olympics and ease the strain on housing/hotels/transportation. That is one of the reasons that Baseball got the big heave-ho.
I believe that basketball's global popularity is reason enough to increase the tournament to 16 teams for men and women. However, the organizers could stage a portion of the Olympic tournament in a nearby city and pass along the medal round or semifinals and finals to the Olympic host city.
This year, the early rounds might be staged in Shanghai beginning the day after the opening ceremonies, then return to Beijing for the final weekend of the Olympics.
In 2012, Manchester could play host, then pass the basketball torch to the O2 arena in London for the finale.