Fans cheer Giddey despite allegations involving relationship with minor

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Australian NBA player Josh Giddey was allowed to play in his team’s 127-123 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night despite the NBA investigating allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Giddey, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, was met with loud cheers when he was announced onto the court on Saturday, and the Melbourne-born point guard played 26 minutes with 10 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the night.

The Boomers guard, who played at this year’s World Championships, is under investigation over an online video that alleges he had an inappropriate relationship with a minor. The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16.

In a since-deleted post, an anonymous social media user said a girl who is seen with Giddey in videos and photographs was a high school junior at the time. The social media account has since been deactivated.

Giddey linked up with Oklahoma centre Chet Holgrem in the final seconds of the game to bring the Thunder within three points of the lead, before he gave away a foul on Philadelphia star Joel Embiid who added two points to the 76ers’ lead.

Oklahoma head coach Mark Daigneault wasn’t questioned about Giddey or his performance during the post-game press conference, but voiced his satisfaction earlier in the night about letting the 21-year-old play.

“Yeah, he’ll play,” Diagneault said when questioned by reporters before the game.

“No change in status from a basketball standpoint, so I have no comment on anything else.”

When probed about allowing Giddey to play, Daigneault said he was satisfied with the decision based on the available information.

“Just with the information that we have at this point, that’s the decision that we’ve made. It’s not even a decision, to be honest with you.”

Australian Oklahome City Thunder star Josh Giddey.Credit: Getty

Giddey, who became one of Australia’s highest-profile athletes after he was selected at No.6 in the 2021 NBA Draft, was asked about the allegations in an interview after the Thunder’s practice on Friday (US time).

“I understand the question, obviously, but there’s no further comment right now,” Giddey said.

When asked about the matter again, Giddey replied: “I get the question guys. I completely understand you guys wanna know about it. But just for right now, I don’t have anything to say.”

On Saturday, a Basketball Australia spokeswoman said the sport’s governing body had contacted the Giddey camp and was monitoring the situation. Giddey, who shone at the recent FIBA World Cup as part of the Australian team, is a key member of the Boomers’ Paris Olympics campaign.

He has one season remaining on his four-year, $US27 million ($42 million) rookie contract, and remains in line for a $300m mega contract extension, edging Ben Simmons’ $275m deal as the richest contract signed by an Australian NBA player.

Giddey’s manager has been contacted for comment.

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