New Zealand’s National Basketball League wants to ensure one of the nation’s most high profile stars is never disappointed again when it comes to viewing a game of hoops.
Wellington-born Hollywood star Russell Crowe voiced his displeasure late last week when he sat in severely restricted viewing seats he had paid $1500 for at the Australia versus United States mega basketball event in Melbourne.
Crowe’s disappointment was echoed by many others who suffered the same fate, which has subsequently led to an investigation by Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC.
Sal’s NBL GM Justin Nelson, who attended the same game as Crowe, now wants to make sure the Academy Award winner knows he will always have the best seats in the house if he wants to attend a game in New Zealand during the 2020 season.
“I was at the same game as Russell, though I was sitting way back in level three and ironically had a much better view for far less outlay, so I can understand his frustration,” said Nelson.
“But, now that I know Russell likes basketball, which is fantastic to learn, and as one of New Zealand’s finest exports, we want to make sure Russell knows he is always welcome at a Sal’s NBL game and he’ll always enjoy the best view possible.
“I’ll make sure Russell and any of his family or guests have front row seats at centre court at any of our games. We’ll take care of him and get him closer to the action than he's ever been,” Nelson added.
The first cousin of New Zealand cricketing greats Martin and Jeff Crowe, actor Russell was born in Wellington and after returning with his family after an initial stint in Australia he attended school in Auckland.
In 2006 his passion for sport took on a whole new meaning when he became a co-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL.
Nelson said he’d even be keen to see if Crowe wanted to expand his interest in basketball a little further and support New Zealand hoops as a team owner in the Sal's NBL.
“Why not? Maybe the timing is right, we're looking for a new franchise in Auckland and it looks like Russell likes good quality basketball, plus he already has considerable experience as an owner. It would be a good fit.
“Personally I think the Auckland Gladiators has a nice ring to it!”