Some interesting insight into the mind of Luol Deng who blogged on NBA.com throughout a tough year for him in which he was often injured, in a contract year, in trade rumors, and experienced his first coaching change.
On What I'm Reading
I just finished reading a book called Who Moved My Cheese? The whole thing is basically about not being afraid to do something new. Sometimes you get used to what you do all the time, and when a new challenge comes, you tend to be scared or get away from what you’ve been doing. The book is basically about taking on new challenges and not being afraid. It’s really a very good book. I tend to pick books that somehow I will be motivated by or I’ll get something out of, just positive books. The other book I’m reading right now is called The Present. It’s also very positive and motivating.
Basketball – A True Global Sport
In the past you had a few international players in the NBA and when they were doing well it was almost something unusual, something you didn’t see very often. What happened with basketball is it has truly become so global. The way things are today, there are kids all over the world watching basketball and know a lot about the game and the players. They’re getting better coaching and basketball is going to keep getting bigger and bigger with more international players in the league in the future. Players like Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, all those guys coming over here and playing well, I think it motivates all the kids all over the world. You can count me as from England, but at the same time being from the Sudan also, there are so many African following me. That gives them hope and motivation by just getting on the Internet back in Africa or watching on TV, even if it’s once a month or getting a tape, and believing that if this guy did it, why can’t I. That is just going to help the game even more and make it more competitive.
On the Trade Deadline Looming
I have no idea what the team is thinking in terms of if they are going to trade anyone. As players we just have to keep playing, keep trying to get better and win. What management does, that’s what they’re going to do. I can’t be nervous. If it happens, it happens.
On Rookie Lessons for Joakim Noah
A few weeks ago, there was just a situation in practice where Joakim got frustrated and said some things that he shouldn’t have said. There was no fighting, there wasn’t anything. He ultimately received a two-game suspension to teach him that you have to control your frustration sometimes. Everybody is pretty much frustrated and we’re all going through the same thing. It’s just a learning process. Joakim has been just like any other rookie. It has been an up and down season. I just try to tell him to stay positive and keep doing what he’s doing. He got here because he works hard and no matter what, to just keep believing in what you’ve been doing.
On Contract Talk
I am definitely sick of talking about my contract. If it comes up again, I’m not going to talk about it. We’re halfway through the season and we’re still talking about the same thing. I really think it should be something that is put behind me. I’m thinking about the future and what we’re doing here. Sometimes writers just want to keep talking about it. If I’m asked questions I’ll answer them, but I’d rather leave it alone because it’s past me. What’s done is done.
On the Coaching Change
Coach Skiles has helped me a lot with my game. Since I’ve been in the NBA, he’s the only coach that I’ve played for, so I was just used to one way and I didn’t know any better. I had nothing to compare it to in the NBA. Seeing Skiles go is a disappointment for all of us, not just the players, but the organization and the coaching staff. We feel like we didn’t get our job done. Whenever you’re doing the right thing, nothing changes. But the organization felt like getting rid of Skiles was the best thing for the team and that we could move forward. We felt maybe some players might be traded or something might happen, and something did happen with the coach being gone.
On Saying Goodbye to Skiles
Since he was dismissed, we exchanged e-mails because I didn’t get to see him. We came into practice and we were told in practice that he was no longer the coach. Skiles wasn’t there. He sent an e-mail to all his players. He wrote about not being able to get the job done and how he’s going to try and move on from here, prepare himself, and be ready if his name is called again. I just thanked him for everything, for trying to coach me this far in the league, and I just wished him the best of luck in the future.