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Another massive sports coup for Melbourne/Victoria

Melbourne to host showdowns between NBA stars from USA and Boomers

By Roy Ward18 March 2018 — 11:14am

Melbourne will host two games between Team USA and the Australian Boomers at Etihad Stadium next August.

Basketball Australia and USA Basketball announced the games on Sunday, in what will be the centrepiece of 2019 FIBA World Cup preparations ahead of the tournmaent held in China from August 31 to September 15.

The Boomers expect to have as many of their NBA players available as possible led by Ben Simmons and Patty Mills, while Team USA’s roster remains uncertain with superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant missing the last World Cup in Turkey in 2014 leaving then emerging stars James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry to lead their nation to the title.

But China is an enormous market for superstars like James, Curry and Harden so there remains hope the USA will have their strongest team. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will coach the national team for the first time at the World Cup which further adds to the possibility of the superstars playing, especially James.

The matches are listed for August 22 and 24 at Etihad Stadium.

Welcoming Team USA is another step towards bringing an NBA game to Australia and in some respects will involve more star talent than any possible NBA match-up should both nations have full strength rosters.
It will also be a test of whether Etihad Stadium is an acceptable venue for basketball games and whether fans on the second and third levels will be able to see enough of the action to justify attending.
 
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