Steve Nash
Photo: Daily Express

Steve Nash tried to explain the decision of many NBA players to skip the Basketball World Cup and not play for Canada and Team USA.

Here’s what the two-time NBA MVP said, per MSN Sports:

“It’s disappointing but you also have an understanding that the times are also different. We had much fewer options when I was coming up. Playing for your country, I think, in some ways meant more because there wasn’t as many opportunities for you.

The business of basketball has just gotten so big. And the money that players are making and the values of their franchises is so huge.

And the opportunities they have evolved so much that it’s not quite as simple as it was back in the day. And I do think that the times have changed. I think you’re seeing it with the U.S. players as well.

So I think it’s a bit of a global issue in a sense. It just doesn’t carry quite the same weight that it used to.

That’s a part of the challenge, it’s part of the reason I came back and worked with the national team, when I was still playing actually, to try to elevate the program to a place where players were excited to play.

And I think over the last eight, nine years we’ve had a lot of the NBA players come out. This year’s been a little bit disappointing because it’s a World Cup year.

But, we still have plenty of them that are in the running to play this year and hopefully, this is a unique year of guys dropping out for various reasons rather than the norm.”

15 players have withdrawn their participation from Team USA training camp, while many Canadian players, like Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray and RJ Barrett, have skipped the tournament.