Australia to host two games against Team USA in 2019
Star-studded Team USA will travel to Australia for two exhibition games against the Boomers in Melbourne in 2019, it was announced on Sunday.
The multipurpose Etihad Stadium – usually used for football – will host games on August 22 and August 24 next year as both countries prepare for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
The World Cup will be staged from August 31 to September 15, with two-time reigning champions Team USA – led by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich – looking to claim a three-peat.
Australia and the United States last met at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where the Americans prevailed 98-88 in the preliminary round.
USA Basketball chief executive Jim Tooley said: "These games will not only be important in the USA’s World Cup preparations, but they renew a special international basketball rivalry.
"The USA-Australia game at the 2016 Rio Olympics was intense, passionate and a very competitive game that came down to the final minutes. We expect these friendlies in 2019 will again showcase international basketball at its highest level and offer sports fans a very memorable event."
Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics), Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder), Carmelo Anthony (Oklahoma City Thunder) and DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers) were part of the USA team, who beat Australia en route to claiming gold at the Olympic Games in 2016.
They are all set to be considered by Popovich for next year's World Cup, while Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBon James could also feature.
Australia are set to be headlined by a strong core of NBA players, including Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons, San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz's Joe Ingles.
"This announcement is a landmark moment for Basketball Australia and all those fans of our great game," said Basketball Australia CEO Anthony Moore. "I believe that this event will be long remembered in Australian sporting history."