The finals of the 2019 NBA 5v5 were held in Shanghai over the weekend in front of the landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong New Area.
After previous competitions in the cities of Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang and Hangzhou, four regional champion teams gathered in Shanghai to compete in the finals on Saturday and Sunday, along with four teams representing China’s Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, the Philippines and South Korea.
San Antonio Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge showed up to cheer the competitors on Saturday and interacted with local fans.
Aldridge was selected second overall in the 2006 National Basketball Association draft. After spending nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, he signed with the Spurs in 2015. He has been selected to five All-NBA teams and is a seven-time NBA All-Star.
“I visited Shanghai six years ago, and I do feel the changes in the city from my previous visit,” said Aldridge.
Talking about his expectations for the new season, Aldridge said San Antonio’s new assistant coach Tim Duncan, a former star player of the Spurs, will enhance the team’s mental strength and make it more competitive.
This year’s event also invited professional referee Scott Wall for the finals. Wall has 23 years of working experience in the NBA, taking charge of 1,211 regular season, and 11 offseason games.
A “Most Potential Player” award has been set this year for four candidates, who are the MVPs from the four regional champion teams. The final winner, voted by fans and NBA 5v5’s professional jurors, will be invited for a trial training with the NBA’s G League team Long Island Nets.
Meanwhile, Australia’s consumer watchdog has launched a probe into the use of NBA superstars to promote pre-World Cup exhibition games by Team USA despite many of them pulling out, leaving fans fuming, AFP reported.
Some people paid hundreds of dollars to watch the Americans in three games in Melbourne and Sydney this month, believing they would be seeing the likes of James Harden, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard.
But while the United States boasts a host of top young talent guided by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, it lacks top names used to sell the event after a series of player withdrawals.
A change.org petition for refunds has so far attracted more than 2,500 supporters claiming they had been ripped off.
“You have sold us an event that is no longer happening,” said the petition.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said on Sunday it was investigating.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, companies must not make false or misleading representations, including when advertising events,” a spokesperson said.
“We understand that some advertising of the USA Basketball games occurring in Melbourne and Sydney included pictures of players who will not be attending those games.
“The ACCC is considering the issues and engaging with relevant parties.”
It urged ticket holders seeking a refund to contact the promoters, TEG Live, who were not immediately available for comment.
“If they are unable to resolve their issue … report the issues to the ACCC,” the spokesperson added.
The US plays Australia in Melbourne on August 22 and 24, and Canada in Sydney two days later, ahead of its bid for a third consecutive crown at the World Cup, which begins at the end of the month in China.
It is bringing a 13-man squad, down from 14 after Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox became the latest to pull out on Saturday.