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First, I hate David Stern. Second, I really hate David Stern and David Stern has made it known that he hates us, basketball and probably turtles. This idiot is trying to ruin everything. I've never seen a leader of an organization so out of touch with his target market, it blows my mind. I remember when David Stern canceled the Dunk Contest and replaced it with that silly game where one current player, one WNBA player and one old man try to make shots from various parts of the court. Yes Stern because that's what fans want to see... Then they brought back the dunk contest and after a while what did Stern do? Yep, he made it a kid's only "Sprite Rising Stars Dunk Contest." You better not have been in the league for more than three years or you're not dunking! Sound familiar?

But now he has really done it. If he ruins international basketball I will seriously lose interest in the sport. I can't go as far as saying that I will stop caring all together but it will definitely fall down on my radar. For me, the main reason to follow club basketball be it NBA or Europe is to see who is really coming on strong for the summer's international play.

It is disgusting what he is trying to do. U23? Bullshit. This works in football because the world cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. Football players do everything they can do to wear the shirt of their nation and football has the same issues with money and injuries. Players who may earn 400k per week from their club are earning about 2k from their national team for each game that they play in and risk injury. Suck it up clubs, it's part of the sport. And what are the national team players doing every two years when there is not a world cup? That's right competing in the Euro, Copa America, Gold Cup or African Cup of Nations, not to mention the Confederations Cup. Yes U23 works in the Olympics for football because otherwise it would be overkill of national team players. Stern is proposing not allowing players over 23 in ANY tournament. This is ridiculous. I agree with Stern that he should copy football's model and I am prepared for a tournament to become U23 IF qualification and friendlies take place throughout the NBA season for which NBA teams need to release their players. Sorry OKC, Team USA needs to take Durant and Westbrook to tour Japan and China in November, deal with it. Until he is prepared to take that step he should not compare himself to the beautiful game.

David Stern is too oblivious to realize that the rise of players like the Gasols, Manu, Dirk, Yao on the INTERNATIONAL level has substantially increased the value of the NBA product that he sells. Would these players succeed in the NBA if they couldn't play internationally past the age of 23? Yes. Would it be as fun to watch? Absolutely not.

My only hope is that Stern fails to convince FIBA of his stupid idea. Should he succeed, FIBA Europe club based players damn well better continue to play in the Olympics and World Cup (Why did they rebrand this? It just sound horrible, does anybody in a basketball executive position have a f*cking clue what they're doing?) irrespective of their age and that teams like Greece, Lithuania and Russia who have limited players in the NBA start to beat up on the US children causing American fans to get upset about Team USA's poor performances over the next decade. Just call me Nostradamus because this will undoubtedly ultimately lead to a triumphant return of NBA players in 2024 Olympics. Only just like the Dunk Contest fans won't be excited that the NBA players are back as much as they'll be perplexed as to why this asshole took them away from us in the first place.

Quote:David Stern wants to ruin the Olympics


By Chris Sheridan

May 30, 2012 at 7:45 PM

NEW YORK — Our best vs. your best, and let’s see who can win the gold medal in men’s basketball at the Olympics.

That was the idea that spawned the Dream Team, and now NBA commissioner David Stern sounds as though he wants to change it.

Stern on Wednesday endorsed a discussion of limiting the Olympics and the World Cup of Basketball (formerly called the World Championship) to players 23 and under, bowing to pressure from NBA owners who have complained that their prized assets are loaned out for free each summer to international federations.

“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 there’s an expectation. 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 than they will say publicly, and their teams,” Stern said at his news conference prior to the NBA draft lottery. “And that’s an idea, and as (deputy commissioner) Adam (Silver) said, that’s good to discuss with the (competition) committee. We’ll see where that goes.”

Until 1992, American professional players were barred from the Olympics under the arcane “amateur” rules that allowed professional players from Communist-bloc nations to field older teams, while the United States played with teams comprised of college players.

After the United States lost in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) opened the competition to professionals, and the greatest team ever assembled, the original Dream Team, made a such a splash at the Barcelona Olympics that it led to the global growth of the game.

The Americans won gold in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008, with the 2004 team losing three times and finishing with the bronze medal.

Team USA is heading to London this summer with a team that may rival the original Dream Team in terms of talent.

But will it be the last time we see America’s very best take on the very best from other countries?

From listening to Stern and Silver, it seems quite possible.

“We think international soccer has an excellent model and in the case of soccer, of course, there’s the World Cup of football, which is the biggest sporting event in the world every four years, and then in the off-years, for the World Cup, they play, in essence, with some exceptions, a 23-and-under competition at the Olympics,” Silver said. “And there’s a recognition, certainly Mark Cuban, other owners have raised repeatedly the issue of our players playing in essence year round when you add the Olympics to our newly-renamed World Championship of Basketball to our World Cup of Basketball.

“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,” Silver said. “So what we have told FIBA, and what David has announced several times, is that we are all in through the London Olympics, and then post-London Olympics, we want to step back together with USA Basketball, led by Jerry Colangelo and Patrick Baumann in FIBA and … we need to take a long-term view of what makes sense both for the NBA and for the game.”

Quote:Colangelo's Olympic project: Build last of the dream teams

By Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic

Updated 1d 5h ago

Twisting arms never has been a problem for Jerry Colangelo. And now he has one final sales pitch to NBA superstars who might bail on their country:

The 2012 Olympics might be your last.

"I've tried to put that discussion aside to another day, after London, when it's appropriate," Colangelo said. "But you don't know what the future holds."

Entering his second Olympics as chairman of USA Basketball, Colangelo knows more than he's telling. But it's pretty clear change is coming.

The days of Nike-fueled Olympic dream teams might be over after London. Already, some players have stepped out of line, asking to be paid. Mark Cuban and other NBA owners bristle over talent exported and expended in pursuit of gold medals. It's a valid concern.

The league's premier players risk both injury and mockery (if they lose), and because all participants need recuperation time, their professional teams are always handicapped at the start of the next season.

To some, the investment outweighs the rewards.

An Under-23 format has been suggested. There is enough talent in America to win with college players and young professionals, without marquee names. And after Team USA's performance in Beijing reinforced America's superiority, putting the basketball world back on its axis, it's probably time to turn back the clock.

That also puts considerable pressure on Colangelo to pull off an encore this summer, to end the era of superstar Olympic teams with one final, stunning success.

It won't be easy.

"We anticipate walking into London with a target on our backs," Colangelo said. "The whole philosophy is different. Last time, we were climbing the hill. This time, we're protecting the hill. It's a different mind-set."

There also are injury issues. Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard are on the shelf. Chris Bosh returned to Game 5 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals after missing time because of an abdominal strain, and his status is uncertain. LaMarcus Aldridge and Chauncey Billups also are injured.

"We didn't anticipate this kind of adversity. You never do," Colangelo said. "But we should be in a position to withstand it. We are still very deep. The national-team concept and the infrastructure we put in place will come back and really help us now."

LeBron James has committed to play in his third Olympics. Kobe Bryant is a slam dunk. Dwyane Wade has said these Games will be his last.

Yet Wade has been somewhat unpredictable lately. He barked at NBA Commissioner David Stern during a negotiating session. He said NBA players should be paid to play in the Olympics, before backpedaling. If Wade changes his mind at the last minute, Colangelo has James Harden lined up as a suitable replacement.

But that's provided Harden and Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant don't shut it down after playing for an NBA championship.

Chris Paul and Deron Williams give Colangelo depth at point guard. Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler are team-first big men.

But here's how fluid the situation has become: Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom recently flew to Duke University for private meetings with Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, in case they're needed.

"In today's fast and furious world, you have to be flexible, roll with the dice, deal with the cards," Colangelo said. "All those old analogies, they fit right now. But we're organized. We're ready. And as the clocks ticks, we're revving up."

Enjoy the show. For NBA superstars, it might be the last.
It is a shame that Yao Ming's career is over because he's the best example of why David Stern is a moron. Yao Ming opened China up for the NBA in what was easily the single greatest thing that could have happened to the NBA. From a business perspective I would take Yao Ming and what he brought to NBA (in terms of exposure and dollars)over just about anybody but Jordan (including LeBron, Durant and Kobe). Yes, Stern gained a lot of Rockets fans simply due to Yao but what the Chinese really wanted to see was Yao play in the NBA so that they could get prepared for and excited about when he played for the national team.

Now let's take a look at Yao using Stern's magnificent formula. Yao was 22 during his rookie season with the Rockets. That means an Olympic qualified Yao would have looked like this:

Fans would have been denied seeing this 28 year old version of the same Yao as David Stern retires to his bed flipping the bird to a nation of 1.3 billion people.

It sounds like Stern is being the mouthpiece of the owners. The owners want a cut of the Olympic fiscal action. Holding out the stars as a bargaining tactic is what is probably going on. The NBA owners are worried about their assets and the bottom line. I don't think the U23 bid will happen. It's a shame that the owners want to squash the Olympics when player desire is at an all time high. Idiots....
The owner/Stern logic is idiotic too. "We(USA) can win a world Cup or Olympics with our U23 squad so lets make every nation in the world play to that U23 standard." Idiocy at the highest level. I actually don't think the are being unintelligent. I just think they are being greedy.
I totally agree that Stern is being a bit of a puppet of owners like Cuban but I also think that he is on a power trip to exert his grip over the game of basketball. I mean honestly, the roster that the US is likely to take to London isn't too far away from being a U23 roster. I'm fine with the younger players being more enthusiastic about wearing the red, white and blue but do we really need a definitive policy and force this requirement on other countries? I mean, say what you will about Kobe. The guy is 33 years old, has won absolutely everything and yet he still wants to play for his country. That is pretty amazing and why should players like Kobe be prevented from making a similar choice in the future?

Stern says he wants to follow the football model but I have no doubt in my mind that what he is really after is the copying the baseball model. For those of you who do not follow baseball here is what you need to know. The MLB season runs April-October each year and is led by another tyrant commissioner named Bud Selig. Baseball has historically been an Olympic sport but because this overlapped with the 162 game season as it would clearly be statistically detrimental for teams to lose their star players for two lousy weeks once every four years, Selig forbid MLB players from participating in the Olympics. There was also a world championship played in the summer but like the Olympics it was played with amateurs.

Then one day in 2006 the MLB decided to host its own "Baseball World Classic" in March prior to the start of the season (which has led to fitness issues). Now, you don't need to play in the MLB to play in the World Classic but it is the only international event whereby MLB players can participate and guess who gets the revenue? Yep, the MLB. Additionally, as the number of baseball playing nations is somewhat limited, the MLB implemented extremely relaxed requirements as to what was necessary to play for a particular country (e.g. if you have an Italian surname you can play for Italy, if you're Jewish you can play for Israel).

Since implementing the World Baseball Classic every four years, the MLB has convinced the IBAF (FIBA equivalent) to cancel baseball at the Olympics and the Baseball world championship. This is now the ONLY major international baseball tournament and it all flows through the MLB.

In my opinion Stern would absolutely love a basketball championship done in the same dramatic circus style that is the NBA. The owners would then be covered for risking their investment as the revenue would flow back into the NBA and Stern would once again flex his muscle in the face of FIBA. FIBA really needs to stop being a bunch of cowards and stand up to this dude.
Jim Rome is usually a giant turd in his own right but this interview shows an appalling lack of professionalism by David Stern. "Do you beat your wife?" Really, Stern?


I like basketball,watching the boys play basketball really very handsome.
This proposal can be fought by Stern with his fellow countrymen for the USA, but trying to impose this on everyone else, well he can suck a big, fat juicy one. Still, I think the opposition will be fierce from so many European countries' basketball federations, playing for the national team is a holy duty that you fulfill as and when you are called. Irrespective of all the asset issues and money and all that crap. If the USA does indeed only use U23 players, but I wouldn't believe the rest of the world would accept this, then the US is going to be repeatedly defeated badly in international competitions, and how much of a mockery is THAT going to generate?

God-damn capitalist BS Rolleyes
^I agree with all of this. If, as an organization, USA basketball decides only to take U23 players it is their perogotive. This only sets them up for defeat but they have the right to be idiots if they so choose. However David Stern is not affiliated with USA basketball and I believe that his issue really stems from international players. Cuban is always cited in these write ups about representing owners' interest so naturally he is concerned about Dirk and the obligation that Dirk has representing Germany. Its part of the game and if Cuban doesn't like it he can trade Dirk for some yank who will rest all off season and show up for training camp out of shape. Problem solved.
Kobe is awesome. Stupid, Stupid idea.

Quote:MANCHESTER, England -- After saying in Las Vegas that he hopes NBA pros will continue to represent their countries in the Olympics, Kobe Bryant voiced his dismay with the 23-and-under concept floated by NBA commissioner David Stern in even stronger terms Tuesday when Team USA arrived in the United Kingdom ahead of London 2012.

Speaking at an appearance at the town hall in Manchester not long after the Americans reached British soil via an overnight flight after Monday night's exhibition victory over Brazil in Washington, D.C., Bryant branded Stern's proposal to restrict the NBA's Olympic involvement to players aged 23 and younger as "stupid."


Bryant It's a stupid idea. It should be a (player's) choice. ... Basically, it's just a dumb idea and we (discuss) it that way. ... We just discuss it like that (and) kind of voice our opinions through you (media) guys.

” -- Kobe Bryant on a proposed

Olympic age limit

"It's a stupid idea," Bryant told local reporters at the reception to welcome them to Manchester in advance of Thursday night's exhibition game here against Team Great Britain. "It should be a (player's) choice."

Asked how much he and his Team USA teammates have talked about Stern's proposal since getting together in Vegas on July 5, Bryant said: "Our discussion is this: Basically, it's just a dumb idea and we (discuss) it that way. ... We just discuss it like that (and) kind of voice our opinions through you (media) guys."

Bryant, subsequently, wasted no time getting comfortable with his new surroundings. Shortly after the town hall stop, Bryant and longtime personal skills guru Tim Grover were spotted strolling along the Deansgate strip of Manchester's city center in the company of a tour guide and a small security detail ... with Bryant decked out in full Team USA practice gear and stopping occasionally to snap pictures with excited fans who recognized him.

His comments about the Olympic age debate expounded upon sentiments Bryant shared during Team USA's recent week-plus stay in Vegas, where he was openly dismissive of the injury concerns frequently raised by NBA owners such as Dallas' Mark Cuban.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Bryant as saying, "I think that's the wrong way to look at things. If I'm an owner, I would want my player to play (internationally) because I understand that they're going to be playing anyway, going to be playing pickup basketball in the summertime, and I'm not going to be able to know where they are. They could be playing against a bunch of bums -- no, really -- guys that feel like they have something to prove and all of a sudden, a (star player) goes to the rim and a guy takes them out and now he's hurt.

"Here you're playing against the best guys, you have treatment around the clock, your (NBA) coaching staff can always come sit in the stands and view practice. To me, playing on an Olympic basketball team is actually better if you're an owner."

With Team USA poised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the original Dream Team that captivated the world and changed international basketball forever at the Summer Games in Barcelona, Stern announced at the NBA Finals that the league needed to "step back and take stock of where we're going" in terms of sending its best and, often, most highly paid players to the Olympics.

The change Stern favors is switching to a system similar to that used in men's Olympic soccer -- which is a 23-and-under competition with three overage players allowed per country -- and allowing all NBA players to remain eligible for the quadrennial FIBA World Championship. That competition will be renamed the World Cup of Basketball in 2014 and, if eligibility changes also are made, theoretically sets up NBA owners to finally earn a share of revenues in return for allowing their top players to participate. At present, NBA teams get no revenue from the Olympic basketball tournament.


Paul I personally would like for it to be your own decision, because playing in an Olympics -- this will be my second -- is the greatest experience of my life.

” -- Chris Paul on a proposed

Olympic age limit

It's thus conceivable this summer's London Games might be the last time that Team USA is comprised of America's best NBAers, but Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo is also resistant to the proposed changes.

"I don't want to change anything because I like what we have," Colangelo told the Times earlier this month. "We take care of our players and I think we do the right things.

"You need a lot of things to fall into place in order for all of this to happen. You need the cooperation and the votes and support of a lot of people. So when I hear something like this, I say it may happen. The real question is when. Is it '16, is it 2020? Don't know at this point. It's a long way from the finish line."

Injuries have been the major storyline for Team USA for months, thanks to a succession of serious setbacks during the lockout-compacted regular season that knocked London finalists Dwight Howard (back), Dwyane Wade (knee), Chris Bosh (abdominal muscle), LaMarcus Aldridge (knee) and Chauncey Billups (torn Achilles) off the roster before coach Mike Krzyzewski could hold a single practice in Vegas. Team USA then lost Blake Griffin to a re-aggravated knee injury that this week required arthroscopic surgery.

In Manchester, when asked if he understands the concerns of NBA owners, Bryant scoffed, saying such reservations are motivated by owners merely wanting "to protect their investments."

Team USA guard Chris Paul also appeared at the town hall event, dismissed concerns about his recent thumb injury during training camp and said in support of Bryant: "I heard about this a while ago and I was thankful they haven't thought about (Stern's proposal) now, because if they were, I wouldn't be able to play now because I'm 27 years old. I personally would like for it to be your own decision, because playing in an Olympics -- this will be my second -- is the greatest experience of my life.

"If you look at the track record for it, I can honestly say my best season in the NBA statistically was the 2008-09 season, which was after my first Olympics. You see guys, when they come back from playing on a team like this, they go into the new season with the ultimate confidence. We talk during the season, we talk about how tired we're going to be in the summer, but as soon as we all get out to Vegas, we're excited. We're ready to go -- it's on. It's better than being at home just working out and playing ball. You get to play against the best players in the world."
Excellent article by ESPN. I know its about money but this chatter about the NBA creating a World Cup of Basketball is hilarious. FIBA already changed the template to a World Cup concept with Spain being the inaugural hosts. What could the NBA possibly offer that won't already exist at Spain 2014? Absolutely ridiculous.

Quote:The NBA has reason to think beyond the Olympics -- but questionable right to keep players away.

READ PART ONE: "Is the NBA divorcing the Olympics?"

The first time the NBA spoke in any detail about pulling back from the Olympics was at the NBA draft lottery in May. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver said: "We think international soccer has an excellent model. And in the case of soccer, of course, there's the World Cup of football, which is the biggest sporting event in the world every four years, and then in the off-years, for the World Cup, they play, in essence, with some exceptions, a 23-and-under competition at the Olympics."

Silver promised meetings galore, with USA Basketball, FIBA, the NBA's competition committee and a select group of NBA owners.

Glaringly obvious, of course, is the missing piece. Basketball really does not have a World Cup, the kind of tournament that outshines the Olympics. Not yet and certainly not to an American audience. Yes, there's a World Cup of basketball, but the globe hardly stops to watch (as is reflected in the cost of the TV rights).

The NBA could make one, however. An amazing way to start one would be to allow NBA players in the World Cup, while simultaneously banning them from the only competing event, the Olympics.

Silver didn't say that explicitly, but that is the soccer model.

It's a little creepy, controlling and anti-Olympic. But effective.

The real reasoning?

So, with TV cameras rolling, Stern and Silver explained their thinking, and offered various rationales that didn't really add up.

Silver said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was concerned about the best players playing year-round.

Yes, that's the same Mark Cuban who has been open about the fact that he'd like the NBA to add a new summer tournament?

And then Commissioner Stern discussed the merits of giving top NBA players a ready way to avoid playing when they don't want to. "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, is on the non-American players," explained the commissioner. "There's an expectation. 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 than they will say publicly."

In the view of many who will only speak off-the-record for fear of angering Chinese basketball officials, playing for China -- something Yao Ming was virtually forced to do -- contributed to the series of injuries that prematurely ended Yao Ming's career. A similar injury threat, the thinking goes, has hung over Dirk Nowitzki's career. Not long after gutting his way, through fever and exhaustion, to the 2011 NBA title, Dirk was shown off all over Germany and counted on to lead the German national team through Eurobasket and to an Olympic berth. Looking gaunt and in need of a good night's sleep, Nowitzki played poorly, for him, and Germany failed to qualify. Dirk announced he would hang up his Germany jersey for a while.

Stern's point: Making the Olympics strictly 23-and-under would remove the pressure from the influential organizers of their national teams.

But it's hardly a pressing league-wide concern. Yao was the big worry, but he is already retired. Nowitzki has already gotten out of the obligation for a few years at least. And none of this works at all as a reason to keep Kobe Bryant and LeBron James from Team USA, where, honcho Jerry Colangelo reminds us, no current player has had a serious injury.

A thinly veiled fight over money

Sports are often profitable at the highest levels, but costs are an ever-present concern. Training at a high level year-round is a lavish investment of time that generally requires somebody else paying the bills. Building a stadium costs something close to a billion dollars these days. That all pays off, hopefully, on the day some owner, commissioner or lawyer gets to sit down to negotiate huge TV and sponsorship deals.

To NBA owners, however, Olympic organizers appear to have gamed the system. The International Olympic Committee skips most of those steps. Host cities worry about the facilities. Already-famous names like Michael Phelps and LeBron James ensure good TV ratings. And athletes, or other entities, finance the training, by and large -- to the extent they have their own sponsors, they are at odds with the IOC. Most deviously, the IOC -- founded with noble ambitions, but now implicated in a string of bribery scandals -- now welcomes the truckloads of cash from broadcasters and sponsors but hides behind the brilliantly slippery notion of "amateur athletics" so as to not even be on the hook to pay the athletes much of anything for their precious time.

It's a sports hustle, of a kind. And to people like Cuban, who know what it's like to lose money in sports and understand how it all works, it can be maddening to see the NBA's best players sucked away from the NBA and into such an unsavory machine.

“They are risking their futures so that the Olympics organization can maximize sponsorship and TV deals,” Mark Cuban wrote in an e-mail to The New York Times' Jeré Longman. “There is no good reason for the N.B.A. to risk our athletes so they can profit.”

Is this even the NBA's call?

As Michael Wilbon reports, after beating France on Sunday Kobe Bryant made clear he doesn't want David Stern or anyone to keep him from the Olympics.

"The Olympics," Bryant said, "are all about putting your very best athletes into the competition. This shouldn't even be a topic for discussion."

And here's where the conversation gets very tricky for the NBA. If Bryant is just dying to volunteer his time to play in the Olympics, by what principle could the NBA fairly stop him?

The phrase "our athletes" in Cuban's quote above goes down hard. There is something a little possessive about that possessive. Cuban sees Nowitzki as you probably do, as a Dallas Maverick first and foremost, who may or may not decide to play for Germany. And for all I know Bryant sees himself as a Laker first, and then a member of Team USA.

But it is not written in stone. There may be all kinds of players for whom the national team is their heart's delight and the NBA is simply a job. And they are free to do as they please in the summer.

The players' time of year

NBA players have contracts that specify they do not work for their teams in the offseason, a time of year when most aren't paid -- in a typical NBA contract, the first paychecks come November 15, more than a month after training camp begins. They earn their salaries by delivering services over 170 days of the year (plus a few other appearances and the like). In other words, they are paid to play the NBA season. They are not, as the contracts are currently set up, paid to do much of anything in the summer.

Beyond that, the players get to do almost whatever they want in the offseason, so long as they continue to honor rules keeping them from dangerous things like hang gliding and rock climbing. In the summer, the players' time is their own. That's something Stern, Silver, Cuban and company have already agreed to.

If Bryant chooses to volunteer for Team USA does the league really have a right to stop him?

Set aside for a moment the realpolitik truth the NBA is not just the globe's best basketball league, but also the most influential basketball entity. Answer me this: Is it the NBA's business who plays in the Olympics at all? If all the Cubans and Sterns in the world agree, should that matter a lick? (In college, I worked at the front desk of a health club in New York City during the semester, and at a resort swimming pool in central Oregon in the summer. If one boss told me I couldn't go work for the other ... so what? It's not their call.)

If owners want control and profit from players' summer work, presumably they'd have to pay for that right.

I asked Commissioner Stern on TrueHoop TV if it was the NBA's place to stop an NBA player from playing for his national team in the offseason. Initially he was lawyerly: "If my contract that I signed with him required him to get permission to play basketball out-of-season and I said that for a particular reason I thought that it was a bad idea, because his contract is worth $120 million and I didn't want to endanger the investment? I could picture a circumstance where that would be an effective use of the contractual right."

I countered that perhaps basketball players play basketball, and that's no crisis, and Stern's mood lifted, and he provided a reminder that he has been Team USA's champion for decades.

"Now you're arguing my side!" Stern replied, noting that owners often complain about players playing overseas: "I say hey guys, relax. If they're not playing here they're going to be down in Houston, they'll be at UCLA. I know how it works. They're playing anyway."

Here's where the NBA and its owners have a fuzzy agenda. If injury risk isn't paramount, what is?

It's starting to sound like owners really want a year-round monopoly on deriving profits from the play of NBA superstars. Without such rights -- the Players Association is amenable to such discussions, which have already taken place informally -- it'd be tough to convince me, or Kobe Bryant, that the league has a good reason to keep players from playing where they want to play, whether that's at the Olympics or the local health club.

One more chair at the table

Michael Wilbon synthesizes things:

Stern didn't get the NBA where it is by being rash. He and his posse, and very smart owners such as Cuban, have taken the calculator to this World Cup thing, and although they might be putting the brakes on the discussion for the next two weeks, clearly the cat is out of the bag. Maybe the ball is now in the IOC's court to come up with a way to keep the NBA/FIBA from leaving, which is to say lots of $$$.

Think about that! If Wilbon is right, this would be a case of Stern removing top NBA players from the Olympics with his under-23 rule ... and then returning them for cash paid not to the players, but to their ... owners?

From my seat, that's a transaction in which human beings are being sold, which would be something heinous but not at all new to sports. Instead, it would be something old, and something that is hopefully waning as athletes assume more and more control of their own work lives.

Free agency and unions have brought players meaningfully into the process of deciding things like where they can play and for how much money. Occasionally now players, like LeBron James in the Decision, truly unsettle things by masterminding their own destinies.

They're not assets, they're people. They have free will. They belong neither to the NBA nor the IOC and could rightly refuse to play their summers for either.

Wherever the best players decide to play, in a newly strong World Cup or the Olympics, will be the preeminent international tournament. You know who'll win this fight? Whoever wins the players' affections. Bryant has made clear the history and reputation of the Olympics mean a lot to him. Others may prefer getting paid, or sticking it to the IOC, as would likely happen in a new World Cup. There are messy conversations to have -- not just with the NBA, the IOC or FIBA, but with the best players from around the world, too.

And that's exactly how it should be, because David Stern doesn't run the summer -- and neither do the IOC or FIBA. The players do.
There will be no stupid age limit in 2016 in Rio. FIBA is proposing to increase the number of teams to 16 and reduce the number of games. Presumably this would mean four groups of four.
(08-18-2012, 05:06 AM)skangles Wrote: [ -> ]There will be no stupid age limit in 2016 in Rio. FIBA is proposing to increase the number of teams to 16 and reduce the number of games. Presumably this would mean four groups of four.

I'm glad that the age limit rule won't be at the Olympics in Rio. The players didn't want this rule because they want to play for their country. It isn't a bad idea to increase the number of teams. I think that it would make the tournament even more exciting