A press conference at Cloud 23 at the Hilton this lunchtime to promote tickets going on sale for Great Britain against the USA ( both men's and women's teams ) at basketball to be played at the Arena in July, a chance for our rapidly improving international basketball teams to take on the best in the world. We were joined at the launch by two current GB players, Andrew Sullivan, and local girl Lauren Thomas-Johnson, and by two former players, one American, the other British. The American, Clyde " The Glide " Drexler is officially one of the fifty greatest players in USNBA history, and a distinguished and very successful playing career included amongst very many highlights being a member of the Dream Team that swept all before them with ease at the 1992 Olympics.
The Brit was Lionel Price, the last remaining member of the 1948 GB basketball team, the only time GB have featured in the Olympic Games in this sport. For Manchester, this is the culmination of a three year deal with the National Basketball Association. It's another example of us using top-class sport to bring visitors to the city and to raise our international profile. But it's not just about elite sport, it's also about supporting the grassroots, getting more young people to participate in sport, which is good both from a health and a social perspective. The sort of work done by the Amaechi basketball club in the city not only gives our young people that chance to participate but, for those with the talent, a chance to progress to the highest levels of the game, something many have already done.
A word of warning. The games against the USA are already the fastest selling basketball events in UK history, so if you want to be at the game I suggest you get a move on!