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Luol Deng on facing the Hawks following this summer's controversy: 'Obviously, that’s going to be in the back of your head'

Heat forward Luol Deng plays the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday for the first time since the organization used offensive language to describe him in a scouting report.

“Obviously that’s going to be in the back of your head, but it’s the players that you’re playing against,” Deng said. “They’re not the ones who said what was said.”

During a meeting with Hawks executives and owners over the summer, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry disparaged Deng by calling into question his character. Ferry also inferred that Deng’s African heritage somehow detracted from his abilities as a basketball player. Following the controversy, Ferry was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the team.

Deng hopes to use the incident to “do something so someone benefits for the mistaken that was made,” but the Heat’s forward hasn’t had any contact with Ferry or the Hawks. Deng said on Monday after practice that he was closer to signing with the Hawks than the Heat at one point during free agency, and that interest from Chris Bosh helped sway Deng to the Heat.

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