Houston Rockets and NBA were forced into defensive mode as China's state broadcaster said it was yanking Rockets games from the air and sponsors abandoned them.
Australia have never won a medal but United States coach Gregg Popovich thinks this could be their year because "they've been close for several years, and they are hungry."
The 24-year-old from Greece wept as he accepted the honour beating out 2018 MVP James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George.
The high-flying rookie put out a call over the loudspeaker for the "biggest person in the building" and out strolled the 7-foot-1 O'Neal who is considered one of the greatest players in league history.
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