Tennis star Nick Kyrgios has vowed to drop 40 points in Sydney’s basketball celebrity game while bitter rivals the Kings and Hawks will battle for home court advantage in the finals.
All roads lead to Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday, with 11,000-plus fans expected to assemble for a blockbuster day of hoops.
The action starts at 1.30pm when noted baller Kyrgios headlines the Celebrity All-Star basketball game to raise funds for the Starlight foundation.
The tennis ace will be joined by a host of well-known identities, including former NRL players Jamie Soward, Jimmy Smith, and Miss World 2020 Maria Thattil.
Kyrgios is the main attraction given his well-known love for hoops, which has also become a vital part of his preparation for professional tennis.
The 2022 Australian Open doubles champion plays pick-up basketball several times a week and is telling those closest to him that he’ll drop big numbers in the celebrity game for the kids.
To aid in the fundraising for Starlight we are calling on fans to take the pledge for every three-pointer the Kings hit during the main game against the Hawks.
The big show tips off at 3pm when the two NSW arch rivals lock horns to see who locks in home court advantage heading into next week’s semi-finals.
Illawarra hold a 2-1 season advantage over Sydney, which the second-placed Kings will be desperate to equal to confirm home court.
The two teams look set to play in the semi-finals, meaning they’ll potentially play four games in the space of a week or so.
Kings guard Shaun Bruce says his side will embrace a semi-final series against the Hawks.
Bruce didn’t play in the thrilling overtime win over Illawarra in round 20, but the standard of the clash excited him from the sidelines.
“I remember driving home from that game and thinking: ‘that was one of the best NBL games I’ve been a part of,” Bruce said.
“There are some playoff games that have had high stakes, but that game was in the third last round before the finals, and it felt like the biggest game I’ve been involved in for a long time.
“If we go into battle with the Hawks in a playoff series, I’ve got no doubt that those games will be great and fun to be a part of.”
Their win tonight means they are guaranteed to finish second if the beat Kings on Sunday, or finish third if they lose 👀
Either way, we’ll see a NSW derby in the first round. pic.twitter.com/c560kp1vSj
— The NBL (@NBL) April 22, 2022
Bruce has noticed the Kings versus Hawks rivalry reach new levels this season.
It’s why he is expecting fireworks when the two teams clash in next week’s semi-final series.
“I’ve definitely felt the rivalry between the Kings and the Hawks pick up in the last two years,” he said.
“In my first year with the Kings it was pretty obvious that we had more talent than Illawarra whereas we now match up talent wise as two of the most talented teams in the league.”