The people of Sydney have spoken.
Brook Lopez was the unlikely hero at Qudos Bank Arena, with the enamoured Sydney crowd developing a love affair with the Team USA big man, like we've never seen before.
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With Team USA in control late against Canada in their 84-68 win, the Sydney crowd erupted in a "we want Lopez" chant, demanding head coach Gregg Popovich bring the fan-favourite back into the game.
Lopez had just two points and two rebounds in the win, but you would never have known, judging by the 'MVP' chant that soon followed. After a string of boos rained down when he was substituted in the fourth quarter, Popovich sent the 7-footer back out for the final seconds of the game, garnering the biggest cheer of the night from the raucous 15,155-strong crowd, much to the coach's bemusement.
🗣 Sydney ❤️'s Brook Lopez!#USABMNT | @usabasketball pic.twitter.com/1RCdE8Layy- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) August 26, 2019
"What the hell was that all about…I don't understand," Popovich joked with media post-game.
"We screwed with him for a while and we were trying to keep our focus because we don't want to make anything silly but it got so ridiculous that we finally succumbed to the crowd."
"What the hell was that all about" 😂- Benyam Kidané (@BenyamKidane) August 26, 2019
I asked coach Popovich if he knew where the Brook Lopez love was coming from and he was equally as confused #USABMNT pic.twitter.com/TmEU93105Z
Lopez, the people's champ of Sydney was duly appinted as the country's newest Prime Minister - a role he appears to be considering.
"Loaded first question there," Lopez said when asked about his new gig.
"I guess it's a big responsibility, I hope I'm up for the challenge. It seems the people have spoken - is it a democratic process here? So it's taken care of then."
Australian fans showing wild love for Brook Lopez during a USA vs. Canada exhibition game on a random Monday night https://t.co/4aivFComxJ- Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) August 26, 2019
When asked if he knew what had prompted the crowd's enthusiastic reception, Lopez knew about as much as the rest of us.
"I don't, honestly, I was hoping to keep Pop happy. Obviously, he was trying to fight it a little bit, but he finally acquiesced there at the end. It was unreal, I'm going to have to text Bogues [Andrew Bogut] and ask him what the professional league is like out here, maybe come out here and team up with him"
No word as yet on plans to change the Sydney Kings' home court name to 'Lopez Bank Arena.'