Olympic Games - London 2012

Gordon slams 'plastic' critics ahead of Games

Ben Gordon insists he can't wait to swap his red and blue Detroit Pistons uniform for the red, white and blue of Team GB, and has hit back at allegations of being a plastic Brit.

 
Gordon slams critics - Olympic Games - London 2012Eurosport
 

Gordon was born in London to Jamaican parents but left for the United States just a few weeks later.

And despite pledging allegiance to the country of his birth three years ago, he has yet to make his British debut.

However, the 29-year old NBA star - whose Detroit side missed the play-offs by more than ten games - insists his commitment to the cause should not be doubted.

“Just being in the Olympics, playing for your country instead of a club, it’s more sentimental, it means you represent a lot more,” Gordon said.

“That’s the thing about the Olympics - you don’t have to live where you represent. I'm delighted and honoured to be representing the country where I was born.

"A lot of people don’t know where people are from once they put their team jersey on but once guys put on their country’s uniform, it shows the diversity and talent around the world that we have in the NBA.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be able to go back home.”

Gordon was slated to make his GB debut in 2009 but pulled out to focus on his big-money switch from the Chicago Bulls to the Pistons, one year later injury ruled him out of coach Chris Finch's summer plans and last year he was sidelined in an insurance row stemming from the NBA lock-out.

However, he knows that as one of the roster's star names he is going to be expected to hit the ground running.

“It’s definitely going to be different,” he added.

“I’m going to be leaned on a lot more than normal. Myself and Luol Deng are going to be looked at as guys who are going to carry a lot of weight at this level with the talent and work ethic we have.

"Realistically we'll be aiming to win as many games as possible, we'll look to go out there and compete one every game."

But even Gordon and Deng, the cornerstones of the inexperienced Team GB, will be learning as they go at the Olympics, as they face teams with rich traditions in the sport.

“Experience is huge in this kind of tournament,” added Gordon.

“Some teams are going to have more talent than others – the Americans are loaded. And with Spain, Argentina, and other teams, it’s going to be very competitive every single game, no matter who you play.”

As Gordon looks to the Olympics, Deng is eyeing the play-offs after a stellar season in Chicago that saw him become the first British player to be selected for the NBA All-Star game.

Chicago won the first game of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series against Philadelphia but the pressure on Deng will only increase after star point guard Derrick Rose, expected to be key member of the US Olympic team, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament that will sideline him for six to nine months.

That's the thing about the Olympics - you don't have to live where you represent. I'm delighted and honoured to be representing the country where I was born."

Deng has had a history of near misses with greatness but still believes he can join up with Finch's squad this summer as an NBA champion.

During his lone year of college at Duke University in the 2003-04 season, Deng lost by a single point in the NCCA national semi-final to the University of Connecticut, his only shot at a college national title.

In last season's play-offs, Deng and his Chicago Bulls fell in a seven-game semi-final series 4-1 to the Miami Heat, who went on to lose to the Dallas Mavericks.

"I've got some big games coming up and, right now, that is my sole focus," he said.

"The Olympics opportunity is out there and we're all looking forward to it and really excited about it. However, my attention now is on Chicago and the games we have coming up."

Great Britain will take on the USA in Manchester just eight days before the start of the Games and Deng still believes they could be one of the surprise packages of the tournament, despite having not played at Olympic level since 1948.

"We’re ready to take on the challenge,” he added.

“We had to work really hard for it. We knew we were good enough to make it, and we’re happy to get the opportunity to play.

“A lot of credit goes to our team-mates who have been working so hard and showing that we’re good enough to compete in the games.”

 - Eurosport
 
 
 
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