Jayson Tatum drives to the basket. Picture: Michael Klein
Jayson Tatum drives to the basket. Picture: Michael Klein

What was missed in Boomers ‘disgrace’

Yep, the seats sucked.

They were uncomfortable lawn chairs unbefitting of the price tag they were sold for - some spectators paid thousands of dollars for their "courtside seats".

The white plastic cushionless chairs were latched together with cable ties across the ground at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium where 51,218 people gathered to watch (most of) Australia's best basketballers fight, but eventually fall, to Team USA on Thursday night, 102-86.

Of course, the situation blew up on social media and that was before Russell Crowe got involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fans who forked out a considerable amount of money to attend have a right to feel slighted by organisers.

But that can't be the only storyline.

Watching from the bleachers, it was a spectacle the likes of which basketball fans in this country have never seen before:

Andrew Bogut turning back the clock with a drive and dunk at both the Lockett End and the Coventry End of a stadium traditionally reserved for an oval shaped ball, Four 'n' Twenty pies and umpires in fluoro yellow.

Chris Goulding, an NBL scoring champ, scoring in bunches.

Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova running circles around some of the best defenders in the world.

 

Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut celebrate as Brook Lopez looks on. Picture: Michael Klein
Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut celebrate as Brook Lopez looks on. Picture: Michael Klein

 

Never in the history of Australian basketball has an audience that big tuned in live under one roof. And it wasn't for nothing, despite what the naysayers might have you believe about the talent Team USA left at home.

Marvel Stadium was filling up at 4pm. There were fans in player jerseys streaming through the entrances excited to watch two old foes go at it.

It wasn't the Shane Heal/Charles Barkley-style grudge match some Australians, including this author, had hoped for. But the talent on display was worth waiting all those months for.

And we get to do it all again on Saturday.

The moment wasn't lost on players and coaches from either side.

"Awesome," Mills told reporters after the game. "Obviously there was a big build up to get to this point, so just to see it unfold was an awesome opportunity.

 

Andrew Bogut turning back the clock. Picture: Hamish Blair/AAP
Andrew Bogut turning back the clock. Picture: Hamish Blair/AAP

 

"I think basketball within this country has been waiting for something like this so for everyone involved to deliver it was awesome.

"Again this an opportunity for us to play against a powerhouse team, to help us grow … but you can see how much support is there for basketball, especially for our national team."

He said he hoped to get the level of support "back to where it was a couple of decades ago".

Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kemba Walker said after the game the experience was "amazing".

"I was super excited to even have the opportunity to play in front of that many people," he said.

USA head coach Gregg Popovich said he loved the atmosphere, even if he felt "like I was in a movie set".

For all the backlash against seating arrangements, missing stars and different camera angles, plenty of fans left happy.

 

 

News Corp Australia


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