Monday, August 8, 2011

Britain’s Gordon misses Eurobasket due to NBA lockout

Photograph by: Mike Cassese, REUTERS
LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon will miss Britain’s Eurobasket campaign because of insurance problems caused by the National Basketball Association lockout, his national team said on Monday.

The absence of one of their best players is a major blow for Britain as they prepare for next year’s home Olympic Games.

"We are obviously very disappointed that Ben is not able to join us this year but we fully understand and respect his decision," Chris Spice, the performance director for British Basketball, said in a statement.

"This is a difficult and complex insurance issue caused primarily by the NBA lockout. We have done our best to provide a cover that is close to what we would have in a normal season but in the end things didn’t work out from a financial or scope of cover perspective.

"It will be doubly important that next year we have everything in place for Ben to join us on day one of the programme as every day he is with us will be key to performing at our peak for London 2012."

The NBA locked out its players at the beginning of last month after negotiations for a new labour deal collapsed.

Gordon was the third overall NBA draft pick when the Chicago Bulls acquired him in 2004 and made an instant impact for the team, averaging 15.1 points in just 24.4 minutes a game on the court in his debut season.

That year he helped the Bulls to their first playoff appearance after Michael Jordan powered the team to their sixth NBA title in 1998.

He progressed steadily and excelled in the 2006-7 season, when he averaged 21.1 points a game and scored a career-high 48 points in a memorable 126-121 regular season win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Having impressed with an average of 24.3 points in the 2008-9 playoffs, Gordon moved to the Detroit Pistons but failed to emulate his performances there.

Gordon’s fellow NBA player Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls will be part of the British team at Eurobasket, which is taking place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 18 in Lithuania.

© Copyright (c) Reuters


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