Call it the LaMelo effect.
Australia’s National Basketball League has announced it will stream 52 games from the 2019-20 season live in the United States via Facebook Watch.
LaMelo Ball – the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, and is tipped as a potential lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft – is playing for NBL team Illawarra Hawks this season ahead of planned move to the NBA.
Another prospective lottery pick, RJ Hampton, is also currently playing in the NBL, for the New Zealand Breakers.
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said: “This partnership will ensure huge exposure for the NBL in the biggest basketball market in the world. It also reinforces our status as the best basketball league in the world outside of the NBA during what is an incredibly exciting time for the sport in Australia and New Zealand.
“There is a lot of interest in Melo and RJ ahead of next year’s NBA draft but also the NBL and basketball here more broadly,” Loeliger said.
An additional 23 regular season games (one per round), finals and other highlights will be streamed in Australia and New Zealand on Facebook Watch as part of the agreement.
A record 13 Australians played in the NBA last season.