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Good People, Good Work

Successful Refugees and Immigrants Leading the Way, Part 5: NBA “Ironman” Luol Deng

2020-11-30
Language:English
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Today, we introduce Luol Deng, who was a 2-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star and respected player. Compassionate in nature, he is also a philanthropist and humanitarian. Luol was born in what is now South Sudan on April 16, 1985. In 1993, the Deng family moved to the UK after the British government granted Luol’s father political asylum. At 14 years-old, Luol moved to the US and attended New Jersey’s Blair Academy, a small private high school. After just one season at Duke University, Luol was selected with the seventh pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, but was immediately dealt on draft day to the Chicago Bulls where he played for 10 seasons (2004-2014). Mr. Deng was a dedicated player and proved his value every year. While a Bull, Luol, known as an “Ironman,” often was the team’s leading scorer and helped Chicago make eight playoff appearances. Although Mr. Deng was a prominent ballplayer, his influence has been felt far beyond the NBA. Luol is a humanitarian activist and generous philanthropist. He has been active in championing refugee rights and basketball in South Sudan in general, and in particular, helping the nation’s vulnerable children. He created the Luol Deng Foundation (LDF), a non-profit organization that renovated an 800-student primary school in South Sudan, runs youth basketball camps for the South Sudanese diaspora and helps build outdoor basketball courts in Africa. In 2008, he was given the Humanitarian Award by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Luol is known for his work on behalf of the Lost Boys of Sudan and other refugees. Mr. Deng, calling himself a “proudrefugee,” has expressed support for them worldwide irrespective of their religion, and supported policies that welcome them.
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