Ball hype prompts sellout
Fans flocking to check out NBA draft-bound LaMelo
THE ever-growing hype around projected No.1 2020 NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball is set to result in a massive crowd at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre when the Adelaide 36ers host the teenage phenom later this month.
The Illawarra Hawks’ star became the first NBL player in the 40-minute era to record two triple-doubles in a row with a 32-point, 11-rebound and 13-assist effort against the Cairns Taipans and 25-point, 12-rebound and 10-assist game against the New Zealand Breakers.
This has propelled the 18year-old Ball, who chose the NBL through its Next Stars program instead of following the conventional route of college to get to the NBA, as the projected number one pick in the latest ESPN 2020 mock draft.
Adelaide 36ers chief executive Ben Kavenagh said this had resulted in “unprecedented ticket sales” for the December 20 clash at the Entertainment Centre against the Hawks.
“The LaMelo Ball factor is well and truly real,” he told News Corp.
“We noticed a significant spike in tickets sales after LaMelo’s triple double, with sales remaining strong ever since. For our upcoming home game against the Hawks, we are experiencing unprecedented ticket sales. Despite us being 16 days out from the game, we’ve almost sold 6500 tickets.”
After their move to the Entertainment Centre the Sixers broke the record for the biggest NBL crowd in Adelaide when 8252 people watched them against the Sydney Kings on November 2.
Kavenagh said Ball’s appearance in Adelaide was likely to result in another big turnout.
“I urge fans to get their tickets quickly, as we’re definitely on track for a sellout,” he said.
“In addition to basketball fans, the game is proving extremely popular with corporates, with our celebrity row seats already sold and almost all corporate boxes sold.”
Ball and the Hawks were involved in the largest ever NBL crowd last month when they played the Sydney Kings in
Sydney, watched by 17,514. Fellow NBL Next Stars player RJ Hampton of the Breakers, who the 36ers nearly had, is projected to be the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft by ESPN.
After his side defeated the Breakers last month, Sixers coach Joey Wright said Ball and Hampton had resulted in people coming out to Australian basketball just to see them — which he said had never really occurred in the game.