London City Royals’ Ed Lucas on enjoying celebrity status in Angola and why return to big city felt right

Ed Lucas is back in England looking for the success and celebrity status he left behind in Angola.

The 25-year-old was a crowd favourite as he led Petro de Luanda to a summer play-off championships victory last season before jumping at the chance to join the newly-formed London City Royals.

After being away from the capital for six years, the London-born guard can’t wait to help establish the Crystal Palace-based club as a British Basketball League force.

“Yes, I was treated very well and given celebrity status – it was a good life in Angola with everyone wanting to take pictures of you,” said Lucas.

“I grew up in London and get recognised here, too, but no one knows too much about me.

“So I’m trying to bring my name in Angola from over there to over here to make the same impact.”

Lucas left a strong impression balling in London as a teenager, but has had to wait until now to show his skills on the professional stage.

His father Fernando globe-trotted the world working for the Angolan Embassy and this is how Ed – and elder brother Nathaniel, the Royals’ strength and conditioning coach – first arrived in Luanda when Ed was aged two.

The boys developed their basketball skills during teenage life in London and Ed’s first club was the Westminster Warriors. He spent four years with top Angolan outfit Primeiro de Agosta and the last two with Petro de Luanda.

He explained: “It’s pretty crazy over – standing room only for the big games – and I loved my time there, both at club and international level.

“I wondered about safety, but since the war ended it has been very peaceful. Overall, I had a very nice experience in Angola.

“Mind you, a team-mate wife did get kidnapped – a case of wrong place, wrong time on an unlit road when the villains took her car and dumped her off somewhere.

“Otherwise, no problem. I jumped at the chance to join the Royals. The idea was sold to me that we eventually want to win everything and I buy into that.

“We have a very knowledgeable coach in Jay Williams and both the management and players are determined to build this new club.

“Our aims are very achievable because the London basketball scene is vibrant; here hasn’t been a new team for a while and everyone wants to know what is going on. Everyone is very, very curious but I can tell them we are set up to succeed.

“It’s my first season in the BBL and who better to start that journey with than Coach Junior, the man who taught me the game and made me the player I am today.

“I am really looking forward to going to war with my team-mates to put the Royals on the map.

“I’m just hoping whatever Coach J needs me to do I will get it done. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to win it all. I don’t play with intentions to come second.”

It’s not been all hoops and whoops along the way for either Ed or Nathaniel. Dad Fernando died in 2017 and the boys are still trying to come to terms with their loss.

“When I was 16 dad was taken ill on business in Spain and ended up in a coma,” added Ed. “Then last year he contracted cerebral malaria and was taken from us.

“We miss him desperately but the Royals are a new challenge and I am very confident in the set up here.

“My only goal is to bring every trophy home and I’m sure my team-mates are all on the same page. We just need to stay locked in, healthy and be consistent throughout the season.”

The Royals face two away matches this weekend against Leicester Riders tomorrow and Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday. Their next home game  is against  Worcester Wolves at the Crystal Palace National Sports Stadium on Saturday, November 3 (tip-off 7.30pm.)


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