GBR - British stars back new Hoopsfix Foundation
LONDON - While the Great Britain national teams may have had funding withdrawn, the basketball community in the UK are helping to start plugging the gap with one particular initiative receiving backing from several Great Britain stars.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Dan Clark have both given their endorsement to the newly-created Hoopsfix Foundation - a not-for-profit initiative which will be dedicated to helping grow the game in the UK.
Led by Sam Neter, owner of basketball website Hoopsfix.com, the launch was celebrated recently with the staging of the inaugural Hoopsfix All-Star Classic in aid of the Foundation.
The event, which was designed to demonstrate the talent that exists in Great Britain, was held at Brunel University in the capital and witnessed a complete sell-out within a matter of days.
It brought together some of the country's best players for U16 and U26 All-Star games, which were aimed to celebrate the strengths of British basketball.
Professional players who were plying their trade all over the globe answered the call to support the Foundation - led by 2012 Olympian, Clark.
He said: "I don't agree with UK Sport's boundaries that they set out at all.
"You can't compare a team sport to an individual sport, especially when it comes to an Olympic cycle, because 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.
"We are working on things like this. What Sam and Hoopsfix are doing now is great for everybody and it is a great opportunity for basketball to showcase itself.
"That's the main thing now. We have just got to find a way to fund ourselves or find private sponsors."
Fellow international Bryan-Amaning shone brightest among Britain's leading lights on the day, taking MVP honours in the main event.
He said: "We have to realise where we have come from since 2006. During the last eight years, we have went from not having a team to being one of the top 20 teams in the world.
"Obviously there is room for improvement and we are not saying that we are the best that we can be, but we are saying we are on the way and up and to just cut the funding feels like a slap in the face."
Having pulled it all together and garnered support from several major sponsors, Neter is delighted with the response to the event.
"There are a lot of people that are incredibly frustrated with the lack of governmental support that basketball receives here," he reiterated.
"Events such as these are a step forward and show how strong the community is.
"Hopefully with the money raised and the ongoing work of the Foundation we will start making significant long-term changes," concluded Neter.