This year, British fans have all the more reason to watch the NBA, as we have four players in the league with UK ties, Michael Olowokandi and Ndudi Ebi of the Boston Celtics, Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls and Pops Mensah-Bonsu of the Dallas Mavericks.


Team: Dallas Mavericks
Position: Forward
Born: 7 September 1983
Height: 2,10 m
Weight: 108.8 kg

Mensah-Bonsu (6-9, 240) is a former standout at George Washington University where he earned First Team Atlantic-10 honors in 2005-06. As a senior he averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, while leading the Colonels in field goal percentage (56.4%) and blocked shots (38) – a category where he ranks second on George Washington’s career list with 141. As a junior, the forward was a Second Team Atlantic-10 selection and was voted the Atlantic-10 Most Improved Player as a sophomore.

Michael Olowokandi

Team: Boston Celtics
Position: Center
Born: 3 April 1975
Height: 2,13 m
Weight: 122,5 kg

Michael Olowokandi hails from Hendon, North London. He discovered his talent for basketball relatively late whilst attending Brunel University and chose to pursue a career in the sport despite a promising reputation as a long and triple jumper. Having won a scholarship to Pacific University, Olowokandi was the subject of many scouts' interest before becoming the Number One Draft Pick and signing to the LA Clippers in 1998. Michael was voted one of the leading rookie players of the 1998-9 season. This season Michael will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves alongside such stars as Kevin Garnett.

Steve Nash
Team: Phoenix Suns
Position: Guard
Born: 7 February 1974
Height: 1,91 m
Weight: 88,5 kg

Born in South Africa of English parentage, Steve Nash could just as easily have become a premiership soccer star as join the NBA. His father John played professional football in England and South Africa and his brother Martin now plays in the Scottish Premier Division. The family emigrated to Canada where Nash excelled in many sports but chose to focus on basketball in order to be able to play sport with his friends. Nash made his NBA debut with the Phoenix Suns in 1996 and moved to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998 where he became a key player together with teammates Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley. At the end of the 2003-04 season Nash was traded to the Phoenix Suns. Perhaps they regretted the decision they made back in '98!.

Nash's basketball career however has not diminished his passion for the beautiful game; during the summer he spent an afternoon training with Tottenham Hotspur. "Watching Spurs train was a complete dream come true for me", he said, "It was an excellent day and something I will never forget".

Luol Deng
Team: Chicago Bulls
Position: F-G
Born: 16 April 1985
Height: 2,03 m
Weight: 99,8 kg

Deng was born in Sudan where his father served as Minister of Transport before moving to Egypt to avoid Sudan's civil war. While in Egypt he was taught basketball by Manute Bol. In 1993, Deng's father was granted political asylum in England. One of nine children, Deng comes from a basketball loving family. His older brother plays professional basketball in England and his other brother and sisters also play the game.

Deng was considered the second-best US high school player in 2003, behind LeBron James. Drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 2004 NBA Draft as their seventh overall pick, he was then traded to the Chicago Bulls where he'll play this season.

Ndudi Ebi
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
Position: Forward
Born: 18 June 1984
Height: 2,06 m
Weight: 88,5 kg

Ebi was selected out of high school by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round (26th pick overall) of 2003 NBA Draft.

He was born in England and raised in the small city of Enugu in Nigeria until his family moved to the US (Houston) because of the political climate and in order to offer the family's three children a better education.