International sporting royalty will hit Melbourne this August when the biggest names in Australian and New Zealand basketball face-off in the FIBA Oceania Championships, as announced today by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Marking the first time in 15 years that Rod Laver Arena will host a basketball game of this calibre, the huge double-header is the opening match of a two-game series that will see our Jayco Australian Opals face off against New Zealand’s Tall Ferns and our Airbnb Australian Boomers attempt to build on their five-game winning streak against New Zealand’s Tall Blacks on the road to Rio.
Never in Australian history have so many current Australian NBA stars played together, with teams set to feature Aron Baynes, Andrew Bogut, Elizabeth Cambage, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Laura Hodges and Patty Mills. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Australian sports fans to see the very best talent in action, live on home soil.
Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, said: “Australia’s imports are dominating the NBA like never before and our Opals are eyeing off Olympic gold. It’s been 15 years since our stars took on Team USA at Rod Laver Arena, and there’s no better time to bring the Aussies back.”
Anthony Moore, Basketball Australia CEO, said: “The staging of the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championships at Rod Laver Arena signifies the return of big time, first class basketball to Australia. The best Australian basketball talent, on one of the greatest sporting stages in the world – an unforgettable night of basketball.”
Geoff Jones, Nine Live CEO, said: “We are extremely proud to be involved in the FIBA Oceania Championships, the biggest international basketball event to be held here in many years. I am confident that Australian sports fans will welcome our world-class athletes home with open arms.”
The second leg of the FIBA Oceania Championships will be played in New Zealand, also in August. After the four matches, champions are decided on by most games won, or if tied at the completion of the final games, greatest winning margin after overtime – every basket counts in this battle for the spot on offer at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Airbnb Australian Boomer, Andrew Bogut, in the midst of NBA Playoffs with the Golden State Warriors, said: “I am thrilled to be playing for the Airbnb Boomers in front of our home crowd in Melbourne. This is a fantastic opportunity for Aussie fans to get behind our national teams and I urge everyone to come out to Rod Laver Arena and support us with the passion we know the basketball community has.”
After making his Boomers debut during the Oceania Championships two years ago, Dante Exum said: “I love putting on the Australian jersey and playing in front of a hometown crowd in Melbourne will be extra special. It’s always such a great experience to play with these guys – we’re all mates and we’re in this together.”
Jayco Australian Opal Elizabeth Cambage, back from a devastating Achilles injury, said: “Since being forced out of the game for so long, having this to work towards has given me an extra boost and I can’t wait to get back on court with the girls. I’ve played much of my career overseas, so having this opportunity to play at Rod Laver Arena means a lot. The best memory that I have of playing basketball was when the Opals played Brazil in Melbourne in the lead up to the London Olympics – I have a feeling this might just top that.”
Tickets go on sale to the public via Ticketek at 12:00 midday, Wednesday 6 May local time.
Exclusive Basketball Australia family pre-sale from 9:00am on Monday 4 May local time. Visit Ticketek for all on sale information.
This is a night that basketball and sporting fans will want to look back on and say they were in the crowd to cheer on home-grown, truly world-class athletes.
2015 FIBA Oceania Qualifying Series
Melbourne, Australia –
August 15, 2015:
Jayco Australian Opals v NZ Tall Ferns
Airbnb Australian Boomers v NZ Tall Blacks
Tauranga, New Zealand –
August 17, 2015:
NZ Tall Ferns v Jayco Australian Opals
Wellington, New Zealand –
August 18, 2015:
NZ Tall Blacks v Airbnb Boomers