While fellow Chicago Bulls All-Stars Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau treated the lineup introductions at Sunday's NBA All-Star game with something just short of disdain, first-time Bulls All-Star Luol Deng used the opportunity to make a statement. Deng wore and proudly popped a black t-shirt with an outline of Africa on it when his name was announced.
It was a small but meaningful gesture for the Sudanese-born Deng, but potentially also a costly one. The t-shirt was out of dress code, which could subject Deng to a fine from the NBA.
Deng explained his decision to wear the t-shirt after the game. From ESPN Chicago:
"I wouldn't do something that's negative," Deng said. "I wouldn't do that at all. If you look at the T-shirt, it's not of anything. I'm not advertising anything. I just felt like being where I'm from and where I came from, it's something that I always wanted to see as a kid. Now that I'm I here I had a chance (to do that). I'm sure there's a kid out there, or a lot of kids, who really enjoyed it and made them happy to see that."
Deng played only 5:51 seconds before slightly tweaking his injured left wrist, which was enough for Thibodeau to sit him the remainder of the exhibition.