He’s been a true titan for the men’s team for as long as anybody can remember, and now Dan Clark is just 24 hours away from another unprecedented milestone in his Great Britain career as he is set to secure his record-breaking 117th cap on Monday afternoon against Greece at EuroBasket 2022.
Already the all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocks for the Men’s team, Clark’s securing of the all-time caps record is the perfect testament to his commitment to the national team and his unprecedented success will rightly be lauded once again in the face of his latest milestone.
We caught up with the 33-year-old star ahead of EuroBasket to discuss his emotions regarding breaking the caps record.
“Great Britain Basketball has always been more about the team than me or any other individual involved in it, so it is hard for me now to sit here and celebrate an individual achievement to be honest, because I would trade them all in for the team to win something.
“It is something really special to me, of course, and I am really proud to be reaching this milestone, but as I said I would give anything in the world for us to win something or achieve anything along those lines together, honestly.
“Ever since the first game in 2009 it has been a great journey, but this has never been the end goal to get to this point – I’ve just wanted to enjoy the journey and get as much out of it as possible.”
“They were the trailblazers for commitment and dedication.”
Already part of an illustrious quartet of players that stand alone as the only four to have surpassed 100 caps as a player for the Men’s National Team, Clark was eager to pay tribute to the trio of British Basketball legends that join him in that exclusive club as he reflected on his own achievement, discussing the example they set for him and the rest of the British game.
“Ever since the likes of Drew (Sullivan), Kieron (Achara MBE) and Eric (Boateng) passed their 100th caps it has been something I’ve thought I’d like to do, and I’ve obviously passed 100 myself now and have the prospect of this overall record at EuroBasket.
“What those guys were able to do before me has been amazing. They were the trailblazers for commitment and dedication to this programme and inspired so many like me. I’m proud to have been able to carry that torch from them for a little bit and I’m looking forward to passing that on to the next generation as well, because we have plenty of players ready to step up and take that on.
“I’ve always really believed in myself, but there is a certain amount of luck involved in achieving this. Being able to commit to the national team every summer has been down to luck with injuries, as well, and I’ve been fortunate to be available. Playing for the National Team is the greatest pride you can have, especially representing the team at a EuroBasket or an Olympics Games.”
“Those are the moments that bring us together.”
Whilst all of Clark’s greatest moments and achievements for the team are etched in the memories and the history books of British Basketball and mind of fans alike, the 33-year-old outlined many moments that most of us wouldn’t know about as some of his standout recollections from those 117 caps.
“Looking back, it is easy to remember certain games and moments in those games and there are lots of great moments, but the beautiful thing for me has been the journey I’ve shared with everybody.
“Countless summers away with the team and basically living together for six weeks, sharing rooms, getting stuck in airports, that co-living experience, the camaraderie, all the obscure things that the public may not see and realise, those are the moments that bring us together and friendships are formed, and are most special to me of everything.
“The relationships I’ve been given from basketball have been amazing to have, and I’m so grateful for that as much as anything else I’ve experienced in the game.”
“I’ve got so many thanks to give, but none more so than to my family.”
Whilst the entire British Basketball community hopes there are many more games to come for Clark in GB colours, we took the opportunity to discuss with Clark how he hopes his career with the team will be remembered, and who he is most thankful to have had helping him along this journey
“Everybody has an opinion, of course, on one thing or another, but I’d hope that people recognise the dedication and commitment I’ve made to British Basketball, the way I’ve played it, the way I’ve tried to ‘enjoy the grind’ to get better.
“Those days where everybody wants to have some time off and not go to work, I find getting in the gym incredibly enjoyable(!), so I hope that people will recognise that commitment and dedication and remember me for that.
“I’ve got so many thanks to give to people, none more so than to my family. Growing up in a basketball family has been massive for me. There’ve been several coaches, including Chris Finch who gave me my debut in 2009, then moving on to Joe Prunty and now Nate Reinking and Marc Steutel, but Alberto Lorenzo has been a very special person in my career as well. We could be here all day thanking everybody, there are so many people I wouldn’t know where to stop!”