NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver has stated that the league wants to model the Olympic basketball tournament around the football event and make it an under-23 competition from 2016 onwards.
London 2012 will mark 20 years since the USA Dream Team took to the floor at the Barcelona Games and put on arguably the greatest sporting performance ever witnessed by claiming the gold medal winning all their games by an average of over 40 points. That was the first time that professional basketball players were allowed to participate in Olympic competition in a deal sealed by current NBA commissioner David Stern and then-FIBA Secretary General Boris Stankovic.
Now Stern is planning a change by copying the football model, making the newly-named FIBA World Cup basketball’s premier sporting event and switching the Olympic tournament to an under-23 competition.
“Owners have raised repeatedly the issue of our players playing in essence year round when you add the Olympics … to our World Cup of Basketball,” Silver said before the NBA Draft Lottery wednesday night.
“So when you have the Olympics, the World Cup of Basketball, we are taking a very close look at whether it makes sense from an NBA standpoint and a global basketball standpoint for the top players to be playing at that level on a year round basis, and somewhere (every) summer.”
These plans are likely to be disscussed after the London 2012 Games.
“In some ways, because of a certain tradition that’s out there, the players that have it the most difficult and the pressure is the greatest on is the non-American players – that’s there’s an exception,” Stern added.
“And if we change the rules so that they can only be expected to play in two Olympics, I think that would relieve them more then they will say publicly, and their teams. And that’s an idea, and as Adam said, that’s good to discuss the competition committee.”