July 18 – The man captaining the first British basketball team competing in the Olympics since 1948 has told insidethegames that leading the team out at London 2012 "is what dreams are made ".
Born in London, Andrew Sullivan (pictured top, in blue) is the long serving captain of the team, hoping to start a new basketball tradition in Britain this summer.
"It is a huge honour to captain your country at such a prestigious event, the Olympics is the first time we have been able to represent Britain since 1948 to be one of 12 guys doing that is a huge honour in itself," Sullivan told insidethegames.
"To be able to do it in the city I grew up in and then as captain is what dreams are made of.
"I consider myself extremely lucky to be in this position."
Sullivan is one of the British basketball squad taking on the United States (US) on Friday (July 20) as Chris Finch's side continue their preparations for London 2012.
The 32-year-old is relishing taking on the US, and said: "From an athlete's standpoint you always want to play against the best and the US are the number one in the world.
"The opportunity to play against them is hugely exciting.
"We understand that it is a massive test and probably the hardest game we play to date.
"It is something we are all looking forward to."
The squad have spent time in the United States already this summer at a training camp, and Finch recently named his squad.
Included is star man Luol Deng, who plays in the US, but two other players based on the other side of the Atlantic, Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens, have not been able to be a part of the squad.
Sullivan insists that the absence of Gordon and Mullens is not a concern, particularly given that they can rely on Deng.
"We never had them here, it would have been a bigger blow missing Luol," he said.
"You cannot miss something you have never had.
"We have just gone about our business and can only be worried about the people who are here.
"I personally think it would've been a bigger blow if we'd missed some of our key players who have been here this summer.
"The commitment [of Luol] has been second to none.
"Once he gets there he immerses himself in everything we do, he doesn't separate himself or big time anyone and what we are doing.
"He is 100 per cent immersed in what we do every summer.
"When your best player does that it makes it very easy for others to follow on.
"The guy is an extremely good talent and comes in and works hard and plays hard.
"That's exactly what you want from your best player."
At the Games this summer, Britain will avoid the Americans, 13 times and reigning Olympic champions, but have a tough group nonetheless.
They face 2008 runners-up Spain, Australia, China, Russia and Brazil.
Sullivan says the team are hoping to spring a surprise, make it out of the group and even challenge for a medal.
"We have got a team made up of hugely competitive individuals," he said.
"Our main goal is to go out and represent ourselves as best as we can and we think about the possibility of putting ourselves in a position where we can possibly medal.
"It is a huge ask but this is why we play the Games."
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
July 2012: First British Olympic basketball squad since 1948 named for London 2012