After 35 years at the highest levels of basketball it takes a lot for a legend like Andrew Gaze to lose his focus.
Team USA’s win over Brazil at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China delivered exactly that on Monday night.
In a career that includes seven NBL MVPs, an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs and seasons playing in Europe, Australia and College ball in the United States, Gaze has seen everything there is to see in hoops. But the 54-year-old wasn’t ready for what the eagle-eyed cameramen at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre captured for the whole world to see.
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Gaze is in China as a commentator for FIBA’s global broadcast feed being shared around the world, including on Fox Sports in Australia, which is why the one moment he came unstuck was particularly public — and the whole world got to have a giggle.
Andrew Gaze walked into an ambush.Source:News Corp Australia
A Brazil fan gets the attention of the crowd in Shenzhen.Source:Twitter
Gaze needed a moment to compose himself when cameramen showed a glamorous Brazil fan in the stands shimmying on her feet to some pumping music during a time out called early in the fourth quarter of the USA’s 89-73 win.
The footage of the woman’s loosey-goosey dance moves was also shown on the big screen inside the stadium, bringing about a vocal cheer from spectators around the arena.
It initially appeared to all be too much for Gaze, who offered an awkwardly-long pause on the live broadcast as the vision of the woman in gold was splashed across the screen.
But just when you thought he was going to have to call for a sub, he nailed the moment like he did so many times during his playing days.
“And… the… support they’re getting from their fans, a whole bunch of them coming all the way to China to see this one, and you need that,” he said with two lengthy pauses. “You need to generate that emotion and passion in the fans as well.”
Drewy completely lost for words ?
h/t @buckyg75 & @nicktan77 pic.twitter.com/gN0XCAt5NF
The Aussie legend was matched by his English commentary counterpart, who offered: “Brazil have a lot of support here in this arena. Even if she didn’t.”
The moment left plenty of basketball fans rolling on the floor in laughter.
Brazil may be getting worked but they are undefeated when it comes to their fans pic.twitter.com/n4GcYDlAKM
With the USA cruising to a comfortable 16-point win, Gaze and Brazil’s new No. 1 fan have in some ways overshadowed the United States’ passage through to the quarter-finals.
Coach Gregg Popovich’s team also secured automatic qualification for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
Kemba Walker and Myles Turner each scored 16 points, and the Americans earned a top seed for the quarterfinals by beating Brazil 89-73 in the final second-round game of the tournament.
After Australia’s thrilling win over France on Monday night, the United States’ victory also ensured Australia avoided having to play Team USA in the quarter-finals.
Bidding to become the first nation to win three consecutive World Cups, the USA will face France on Wednesday.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve qualified for the Olympics,” said Popovich, who will lead the Americans in Tokyo next summer as well.
“With this new situation in qualifying, you don’t want to do that every year. That’s a pretty big grind.” It was a win three nations could celebrate: The U.S. victory not only resulted in an Olympic berth but also clinched an Olympic spot for Argentina and a quarterfinal spot for the Czech Republic.
The Czechs moved on despite losing earlier Monday to NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece.
France, a 100-98 loser to Australia, awaits the U.S. on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. The other quarter-final match ups are Spain vs Poland and Serbia vs Argentina on Tuesday, and Australia vs the Czech Republic on Wednesday.
— with AP
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