LeBron snubs Melbourne for Bugs Bunny
Basketball great LeBron James has chosen to film a movie opposite Bugs Bunny instead of play a historic Melbourne series between Team USA and Australia.
The NBA star has slam dunked hopes of seeing him play on Australian soil before near sell out crowds this August, confirming he will instead appear in a remake of 1990s film Space Jam.
James was top of the list fans and event organisers had hoped would attend the two-game Melbourne series that will pit the Australian Boomers against the USA at Marvel Stadium.
It is still expected a host of NBA talent will take part in the series that could also see Melbourne born and bred Ben Simmons don the green and gold before a home crowd.
After being eliminated from the NBA playoffs with the Los Angeles Lakers, James said he would follow in the footsteps of Michael Jordan by starring in Space Jam 2 instead of visiting Melbourne.
"This is not a good summer for me," James said.
Australia will host Team USA on August 22 and 24 with some of the world's best players expected to take the court in Melbourne in the lead-up to the FIBA World Cup in China.
But James told US sports site The Athletic he would stay in Hollywood rather than travel down under, after sitting out the rest of the NBA season.
"Of course I would love to still play, but I've always listened to the ones I trust, no matter if I've always agreed with them or not,'' he said.
"They're looking out for my best interest and that's the way it is.''
Space Jam 2 is scheduled for a July 2021 release, 25 years after the original film featuring Jordan, Bill Murray and a host of Looney Tunes characters including Bugs and Lola Bunny and Daffy Duck.
The Sunday Herald Sun last year revealed Marvel Stadium would be transformed from an AFL venue to one of the world's biggest basketball arenas for the most important hoops match in Australian history.
Crowds of up to 55,000 are expected for each match, which will be beamed live around the world and draw sports fans from near and far.
Rosters for Australia and the US are unlikely to be finalised until the NBA season ends in June.
More than 90,000 tickets have already been sold to the Melbourne series.
A record 13 Australians have been contracted to NBA teams in the US this year, including Victorians Simmons, Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut, Jonah Bolden and Dante Exum.
Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving was also born in Melbourne.