Getty Images: Patty & the boys will play New Zealand at Rod Laver Arena.
Today Basketball Australia confirmed that Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena will be hosting the first leg of the FIBA Oceania Championships on the 15th August 2015.
Game two of the two leg series will be played in Wellington on the 18th August with the series winner automatically qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The event will be a double header with the Australian Opals taking on New Zealand Tall Ferns before the Australian Boomers will play the Tall Blacks in front of what’s anticipated to be a 15,000 strong sell out crowd.
Six of the Seven Boomers who ply their trade in the NBA have confirmed their availability for the event. Pending injury, if Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Patrick Mills, Aron Baynes and Cameron Bairstow all suit up in August, Rod Laver could create history and break the record for the most number of contracted NBA players suiting up for the Boomers in one game.
The record is currently set at four (Dellavedova, Baynes, Bairstow and Exum) from last years’ World Cup Team.
Joe Ingles and LSU signee Ben Simmons will not take part in the series. Ingles is taking time off to get married and also sort out his impending free-agency. Simmons will report into LSU prior to the tournament but will be in Australia over the coming months with his new College to take on unconfirmed NBL teams in Newcastle, Sydney and Melbourne.
This will also mark the first time that arguably the best ever Australian basketballer, Andrew Bogut, will play for the Australian National Team in front of his home crowd in Melbourne since 2006.
“I am thrilled to be playing for the Airbnb Boomers in front of our home crowd in Melbourne.” Bogut said.
“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.”
Off the back of a stellar rookie season, young gun Dante Exum will also play in front of his Melbourne home crowd for the first time.
“I love putting on the Australian jersey and playing in front of a hometown crowd in Melbourne will be extra special.” Exum said.
” It’s always such a great experience to play with these guys – we’re all mates and we’re in this together.”
This will mark the first time that the National Team has played at Rod Laver Arena since the Boomers took on the United States in a warm-up game for the Sydney 2000 Olympics… Which we all remember because of this moment between Andrew Gaze, Shane Heal and Vince Carter:
Tickets go on sale to the general public Wednesday 6th May via Ticketek. And prices start from just $20.