Veteran NBA forward Luol Deng brought the curtain down on his basketball career after signing a one-day deal with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday in order to retire as a member of the team. Deng is a two-time All-Star from South Sudan, where he has worked to develop young basketball players.
Speaking to an American website, Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf said that Deng was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help them win. He also thanked Luol not only for what he accomplished on the court for the team but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts. The Bulls will honor Deng at a game to be determined later this season.
Deng was taken seventh overall by the Bulls in the 2004 NBA Draft. He ranks in the top five on the Bulls all-time list for minutes (fifth, 22,882), points (fourth, 10,286), field goals made (fifth, 3,987) and attempted (fifth, 8,675) and steals (fifth, 639). He also led the Bulls in scoring in 2011-12 (15.3 ppg) and 2012-13 (16.5 ppg).
In 902 NBA games over 15 seasons with the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 34.3 minutes per game. The 34-year-old averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in 62 playoff games in seven postseasons, six with Chicago and one with Miami.
Deng was named in the 2011-12 All-Defensive Second Team and the 2004-05 All-Rookie First Team. He won the Sportsmanship Award in 2006-07. In 2013-14, Deng was named the recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, an honour given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to a player, coach, or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.