US all-star basketball player Luol Deng and his sister Arek Deng visited Brixton’s Evelyn Grace Academy recently.
Born in what is now South Sudan, Deng fled the country with his family as a child, settling in the UK and growing up in Brixton, where he was trained by the late Jimmy Rogers of Brixton Topcats at the Rec.
He became a British citizen in 2006. He told students: “My main message I wanted to share is in order to be great at what you do, you have to be committed to achieving your goals.
“More importantly do not to be shy or afraid of sharing out loud who you want to be, because, by doing so, you then start challenging yourself.
“Act like who you want to be, put in the time and good things will happen. Greatness is the result of hard work, discipline and not being afraid. Every one of you can achieve this.”
Arc Evelyn Grace Academy Principal Tim Dainty said Luol Deng was inspirational but also very down to earth. “Not only did he come from very similar backgrounds to many of our students, his success in basketball has not made him in any way arrogant. Quite the opposite.
“To hear a man who was raised in South London and started his basketball career here and then go on to this kind of success is a wonderful example to every member of our academy.”