One On One With Luol Deng

Posted September 1st, 2015 at 2:41 pm (UTC-4)
5 comments

Luol Deng and Sonny in the Voice of America's Studio 53.

Luol Deng and Sonny in the Voice of America’s Studio 53.

Writing about the Top 100 National Basketball Association players of 2016, Sports Illustrated magazine’s Rob Mahoney says of Luol Deng, “Coaches sing his praises. Teammates past and present adore him. Such positive reflection is far from coincidence.”

As I reflect on Deng’s first visit to our Voice of America headquarters, it’s hard not to sing a few more verses in praise of the Miami Heat forward.

Miami's Luol Deng puts up a shot during a game against the Chicago Bulls, his former club. Photo: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Miami’s Luol Deng puts up a shot during a game against the Chicago Bulls, his former club. Photo: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I last talked with the 30-year-old Deng a few years ago when he played for the Chicago Bulls. I met him in the lobby of Chicago’s team hotel before a regular season game against the Washington Wizards.

What impressed me from that meeting was Deng’s humility and his love for Africa. And those impressions carried over during his visit to the VOA.

Deng wore a South Sudan Unite T-shirt to visibly promote unity in his homeland, Africa’s newest country and one that’s been striving to achieve lasting peace. In an interview on the VOA’s Africa 54 TV program, Deng talked about his humanitarian work in South Sudan; playing in the NBA’s first game in Africa; and he looked forward to the upcoming NBA season.

As we heard in my interview, Luol Deng says he thinks he “still has a lot of years ahead of him” in the NBA and there’s still “a lot he wants to accomplish” before he leaves the league.

Among his accomplishments and career highlights: Deng is a two-time NBA All-Star (2012-2013) and he won the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award in 2007 and the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2014.

The NBA’s Citizenship Award is given to those who show outstanding service and dedication to the community. Dikembe Mutombo, who Luol Deng has described as a role model for his own humanitarian efforts, is the only player to win the award twice. The 49-year-old Mutombo retired from the NBA in 2009 and he’ll be officially enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame on September 11th.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

5 responses to “One On One With Luol Deng”

  1. I wish we have only 2000 people in south Sudan just as humble as you, we would not think about going for war ever again. i’m a south Sudanese myself currently in the studying Filmmaking in the Philippines an industry we have ignored completely yet its one big tool of peace building.please i want to join you in your humanitarian work in back home through films so i can teach young people the art of visual story telling.i just watch you speaking and my blood just went cold. May God open the eyes of your heart and bless the work of your hand so that many will be bless through your life.

  2. Joshua Zenit says:

    Keep on, Deng! Dont stop till you get enough

  3. Jahvid Samuel says:

    Luol deng is a great human being and the best team player in the NBA.

  4. segun Adeyemi says:

    Thank you, Sonny, for showcasing Deng

    This paragraph, ”What impressed me from that meeting was Deng’s humility and his love for Africa. And those impressions carried over during his visit to the VOA,” best captures the essence of who Deng really is. I wish him many more years of success in the NBA.

  5. Khalid Almubarak says:

    How many potentially great sportsmen and sportswomen like Deng have we lost during the wars that ended in 2005?How many talented young people in medicine,technology ,music and all fields do we risk losing if conflicts continue.Deng’s efforts should be commended.
    Recently the International Olympic Committee has praised the Sudan for helping South Sudan to gain membership.I hope Deng will join hands with Sudanese sportsmen to improve-through sport- reconciliation between the two Sudans and wipe out bitterness.

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

The Sonny Side of Sports is broadcast Monday through Friday at 1630 and 1830 UTC/GMT. And on Fridays at 1730 UTC/GMT, Sonny has an expanded 30-minute sports show.

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