It’s no secret that Luol Deng is an unheralded NBA player, so in all likelihood, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not many aspects of his life are known to the average fan. Here are The Windy Apple’s top 9 things about Lu’s persona off the court that you ought to know:
1. Deng is a diehard Arsenal soccer fan and aspired to play for them when he was young.
2. Deng on the defining moment at age 12 that enticed him to pursue basketball instead of his first love, soccer: “I played for the school and we had a break away and I dunked it. It was the first time I had ever dunked and everyone went crazy. I realized that this was my shining moment and that was how I fell in love with basketball.”
3. Luol averaged 40 points and 14 rebounds a game in South London for the European Junior Men’s Qualifying Tournament. HE WAS 13.
4. His family fled to Egypt and escaped the Second South Sudanese Civil War that took the lives of two million people.
5. Deng and his brother learned to play basketball in Egypt from former NBA center and fellow Sudanese refugee Manute Bol.
6. Deng’s older brother Ajou played collegiately for UCONN and was anticipated to be the best player in the school’s history. He fell short, and most recently played professionally overseas for Slovakia’s Slavia Tu Kosice.
7. He was ranked the second best high school player his senior year behind Lebron James.
8. Luol was one of the first sports figures to be invited to the White House when Obama became President. Deng is President Obama’s favorite athlete.
9. Luol is one of four Brixton heroes that is featured on the Brixton Pound.