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LeBron James to miss Melbourne exhibition series


LeBron James won't be a part of Team USA's highly-anticipated FIBA World Cup warm-up series against Australia in Melbourne in August.

Instead of strutting his stuff against the Boomers at Marvel Stadium, James will spend the (US) summer working on the film Space Jam 2, which is produced by his SpringHill Entertainment, and is scheduled for release in July 2021 - 25 years after the original film starring Michael Jordan hit the screens.

Speaking to James Vardon of The Athletic, James said: "I love everything about Pop (USA coach Gregg Popovich), obviously, but this is not a good summer for me."

More than 90,000 tickets have been sold for the two-match series, which will be held in the lead up to the World Cup that kicks off in China on August 31.

Basketball Australia will be hoping NBA stars such as Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant make the trip Down Under.

During a recent promotional visit to Melbourne, USA Basketball national team director Sean Ford said he was "confident that we will have a quality team here with high-level NBA players".

James, who is in his first year with the Lakers, will sit out the remainder of the NBA season after suffering from groin problems throughout the season.

"I've had basically the same offseason training regimen the last eight years. I knew how long I wanted to rest for the season on a short timeline. I'm figuring out now how to get as much as I can out of two months of extra time for training. It requires a totally different strategy. We're looking at it in an entirely new way," James explained.

According to Vardon, the Space Jam 2 set will feature a full-length basketball court so James can train during production.

The three-time NBA champion will also miss the FIBA World Cup, however, James didn't rule out representing his country at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

"Yeah, that's a possibility. It depends on how I feel. I love the Olympics," James said.

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