When sports-crazy Melburnians were told that the American basketball superstar LeBron James was on his way to the coast of Australia, parents hopped through the city for a united sigh while their children jumped up.
& # 39; Can we go mommy. Can we go daddy? & # 39; was the cry.
The Sunday Herald Sun from Melbourne spattered it last year in his newspaper.
& # 39; & # 39; The world's largest basketball stars come to Melbourne in one of the largest sports coupes in the history of the state, & proudly announced it.
& # 39; The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal that NBA legends LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will lead the US national team against a line-up of Australia with our own superstars Ben Simmons and Patty Mills. & # 39;
Fans who have paid a lot of money have complained about plastic seats and bad views
Missing in Action: LeBron James was the man everyone wanted to see. They were told that he would be there last March. But he and his friends didn't show up. And probably never planned
But while the game went down in a farce on Thursday night, angry gamblers are calling for answers.
None of the heroes they expected there had turned up to play.
Instead, they were subjected to a second line-up.
Ticket sales went wild after the publication of that front page article.
The newspaper was right when LeBron was named as a legend of the game and the story became big news across the country.
But as time went on, a cynical Melbourne wondered if one of these players would actually show up.
Russell Crowe (pictured at the game) takes part in basketball fans who are furious about the seat fiasco when Australia took over Team USA in Melbourne on Thursday night
In October, Basketball Victoria still yelled from the rooftops that they would be here.
& # 39; US – & # 39; Aussie & Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Durant represent the best of the home country of basketball. Two nights alone in Melbourne at Etihad Stadium – because games of this size needed the largest available space to reach this superstar competition, & # 39; is on the website.
These were solid statements. There were no ifs, buts or maybes. LeBron and friends came down.
But when Daily Mail Australia asked Basketball Australia if the players were coming, it denied that it had ever claimed they were.
& # 39; US basketball has only confirmed their team, from which they will select 12 to take to the World Cup and head to Australia & # 39 ;, said media manager Grant Richardson.
& # 39; That team can be found below, but we do not expect USA Basketball to announce the final team until mid-next year. & # 39;
When the problem was raised, Basketball Australia claimed that news agencies, such as the Sunday Herald Sun, had become rogue.
& # 39; For this reason, our communication has consistently not mentioned any players and we do our best to dampen publications such as The Herald Sun and our stakeholders, including Basketball Victoria (which is separate from Basketball Australia), & # 39; said Mr. Richardson.
& # 39; The fact remains that after the announcement of USA Basketball there will be super stars for the game, regardless of who exactly they are, because all those 32 players bring a certain amount of cache.
& # 39; We do not believe that children buy tickets on the back of that & # 39; solid statements & # 39; from players, because the promise of simply basketball tourism in the US means that superstars will come. At this stage we are sold about 80% during both nights with the Saturday game all but sold out. & # 39;
Enthusiastic fans have told Daily Mail Australia that they have indeed purchased tickets because of claims LrBron and co.
& # 39; We absolutely feel cheated, & # 39; said an angry father. & # 39; It stinks. & # 39;
Russell Crowe tweeted a video on Thursday night of his view of the basketball game between Australia and the US in Melbourne
While the game sank on Thursday in a debacle in Melbourne, Russell Crowe joined furious basketball fans by slamming the seat failure in Melbourne.
Crowe paid a premium for court tickets for the match at Marvel Stadium, but discovered, like many other fans, that his opinion was hampered by people before him.
& # 39; $ 1500 a ticket for this display. AUS against VS. Joke is on me. If you were not there between 50,000 and you chose to watch it on TV at home, good decision, & tweet Crowe.
& # 39; The only thing that was achieved tonight by Basketball Australia was that the promoters made an effort to rip off well-meaning enthusiasts of the sport. It was a farce. & # 39;
Many fans who bought tickets, up to $ 500 for general seats, expressed their shock online when they arrived and discovered that they were getting plastic picnic seats to sit in with little visibility of the players.
Crowe also retweeted an opinion from another fan for those with tickets to the second match in the series on Saturday.
& # 39; For those who attend the game on Saturday, here's a tip. Get a refund tomorrow, look at home and buy a basketball jersey for your children. & # 39;
The run-up to the game was also controversial: fans complained about stars going backwards and the Australian competition and consumer commission started an investigation into misleading advertising.
According to the ABC, the ACCC announced on Thursday evening that it was & # 39; aware of refunds to consumers for the American basketball games … in Melbourne and Sydney on August 22, 24 and 26, & # 39 ;.
The World Cup warm-up match, followed by match two on Saturday afternoon, was played on a drop-in raised floor in the stadium.
From the sidelines to the edge of the field is only 3.1 meters, followed by a fall of 93 cm.
Fans who had paid up to $ 500 for the court tickets for the Marvel Stadium match on Thursday evening were fuming with lots of reports about their bad seats online
The plastic seats for the 50,000-strong crowd have been criticized by fans who have complained about the players' limited opinions.
& # 39; Even the seats in the first row have terrible corners for the game. That is the worst place for a basketball game that I think I have ever seen & # 39 ;, a fan said online.
& # 39; Imagine paying more than $ 1500 to get seats on the right, just to realize that you are sitting on a $ 5 folding chair and looking up at the court, & # 39; another said.
& # 39; 150 seats on the floor and you cannot see the course. All players also dropped out. What a stitch, & # 39; noticed a third.
The plastic seats are placed on the right to accommodate the 50,000 people
A steady stream of players, including Anthony Davis and James Harden, also withdrew from the games – causing fans to express their disappointment.
Australia's own NBA superstar Ben Simmons also withdrew from the Boomers team.
The Australian team goes from toe to toe with the American side in the close game
Top stars including Steph Curry (pictured with partner) and Lebron James were used in the original marketing material for the games, but will not play
LeBron James was used on marketing material for the games (pictured with wife Savannah Brinson attending the 2016 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year)
LeBron James (left) and Anthony Davis have also withdrawn from the two games in Australia
Games of this quality are unheard of in Australia, giving spectators the chance to see the most elitist players without having to shift work and family obligations and buy flights to America.
Punters were willing to hand over thousands for tickets, interstate flights and accommodation despite steep prices – with the marketing promising big stars and value for money.
& # 39; Watching these two games cost me the bulk of $ 3,000 & # 39 ;, fan Joshua Askew told 7 News.
& # 39; The biggest names in world basketball will emerge in August 2019 when the Australian Boomers organize VS Basketball at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne & # 39 ;, promotional material from the TEG states.
& # 39; Don't miss this unique opportunity to see how the US can best compete with Australia's local heroes in this important pre-FIBA World Cup series.
& # 39; With eight Aussies lighting up in the US this year, there has never been a better chance for the Boomers to defeat the power of American home-grown basketball. This promises to be the biggest sporting event of the year. & # 39;
Patrick Mills of the Boomers and Donovan Mitchell from the US compete for the ball during the International Basketball Friendly game
Aron Baynes of Australia controls the ball during match 1 of the Pre-FIBA World Cup series between the Australian Boomers and the US at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Thursday, August 22
US Donovan Mitchell controls the ball during match 1 of the Pre-FIBA World Cup series
James Harden was a big drawcard that helped to sell tickets, but also withdrew from the game
A Change.org petition was started online before the competition and asked for a refund with the petition receiving nearly 3,000 signatures.
& # 39; I don't even want to go anymore. A refund must be given. This event is nothing like what was advertised & # 39 ;, said one of the comments about the petition.
& # 39; The high ticket prices were originally justifiable because of the advertised line-up. But now that everything was lied to, we still have tickets that we can't even sell again without suffering a big loss. & # 39;
The ACCC has launched an investigation into the event.
& # 39; Under Australian consumer legislation, companies are not allowed to make false or misleading statements, even when they advertise events & # 39 ;, a spokesperson told AFP.
& # 39; We understand that some advertisements of the American basketball games in Melbourne and Sydney include images of players who will not participate in those games. The ACCC considers the problems and cooperates with relevant parties. & # 39;
& # 39; Ticket holders who want to request a refund must contact the promoter, TEG Live or their ticket agency.
& # 39; If they cannot solve their problem with these companies, report the problems to the ACCC. & # 39;
The United States, who continue their dominance over Australia with a win of 102-86.
Ben Simmons was the newest star who withdrew and announced on Sunday that he would not play in the two-game World Cup warming-up exhibition series
The Boomers went on Thursday-evening in Australia against the US all-star basketball game at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne as underdogs
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