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British basketball starts funding fightback with all-star Brunel event
BRITISH basketball began the fightback after having its funding with an event at Brunel University designed to demonstrate the talent that exists in this country.
UK Sport cut all funding to the sport in April, effectively erasing the progress that had been made since the Great British basketball programme was put together in 2006, along with prospects for future success.
But, after appeals against the decision were turned away, the basketball community took it upon itself to respond.
Sam Neter, owner of basketball website Hoopsfix.com, staged the inaugural Hoopsfix All-Star Classic in aid of the Hoopsfix Foundation – a newly-launched not-for-profit initiative dedicated to helping grow the game in the UK.
The event brought together the country’s best players for under-16 and under-26 all-star games to celebrate the strength of British basketball.
All 500 tickets sold out in a matter of days, and professional players plying their trade all over the globe answered the call of their country.
One of them was Dan Clark, who has been playing basketball in Spain for 14 years and represented GB at the London Olympics.
He said: “I don’t agree with the boundaries UK Sport set out.
“You can’t compare a team sport to an individual sport, especially when it comes to an Olympic cycle.
“In an individual sport, there might be opportunities to win 50 medals whereas in basketball there is just one.
“There should be boundaries that offer a fairer set-up for everyone. It is frustrating.”
Fellow GB international Matthew Bryan-Amaning shone brightest among Britain’s leading lights on the day, taking ‘most valuable player’ honours in the main event, following a season playing professionally in France.
Sam Neter was delighted with the response to the event, having pulled it together and gathered support from major sponsors.
"There are a lot of people that are incredibly frustrated with the lack of governmental support that basketball receives here,” he said.
“Hopefully, with the money raised and the ongoing work of the Foundation, we will start making significant long-term changes. Right now, the Olympic legacy is non-existent.”