BY SAM SMITH
Brixton’s Justin Robinson has been called up to the Great Britain basketball squad for their FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers.
The London Lions guard could add to his 40 caps when Great Britain face France on November 27 and Montenegro on November 29.
The matches – which make up part of Group G – are taking place in a Coronavirus-secure bubble in Pau, France. Germany are the other team in the group, but they have earned automatic qualification as hosts of the tournament in 20222.
Great Britain have not beaten France in 32 years and are outsiders to qualify. They are 42nd in the world rankings, while France are sixth.
They were also narrowly beaten by Montenegro earlier this year.
In an interview with the South London Press last month, Robinson accused the UK Government of not treating basketball as an important sport.
He said: “We all know the huge bias around basketball, it’s nothing new. It’s been that way for decades, decades and decades.
“There is definitely a racial undertone in terms of basketball being a black-dominated sport being played by minorities and kids from the inner-city.
“Maybe the government don’t see it as an important sport. If that is the case then it’s very unfortunate.”
Robinson had been asked about the Government taking longer to provide funding for the basketball season to commence following lockdown than it had done for sports such as football and tennis.
He continued: “Is it because the sport is played by minorities? Or by kids in the inner-city? I don’t know. That’s a whole other topic. It’s frustrating to hear, ‘they’re not giving basketball any money.’ It should be a no-brainer for the government to want to keep it alive.
“If football is allowed, why isn’t basketball? Are footballers immune to corona[virus]? It doesn’t make sense.
“Football is a contact sport and so is basketball. We’re in a strange time right now in terms of what is allowed and what isn’t.
“[There are] so many kids taking it up on the streets, some who have found a family in their club teams. I’m just thankful that they have given the money and that we can continue the season. Sports centres can now stay open and kids can have that outlet.”
Robinson, 33, is the reigning British Basketball League MVP.
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