For months now, David Stern and the NBA owners have been discussing putting an end to the Dream Team concept as far as Olympic Basketball is concerned. However, while considering all the options, Stern needs to stop the NBA owners right now from ruining Olympic Basketball.
I'm not totally against the under-23 proposal that is being considered for team USA. But it better not be because of greedy owners just attempting to line their pockets—and that's exactly what this entire situation is turning into.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Stern and the NBA owners are contemplating not allowing the game's biggest stars to participate in the Olympics, instead having them compete in a proposed rebranding of the world championships called "The World Cup of Basketball."
Wojnarowski also says that the change, of course, is largely motivated by financial benefits.
Listening to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, you get the feeling that it is entirely about money and nothing else. Cuban told Wojnarowski in the same article:
The question is: Why would we partner with a current tournament rather than start our own? If done correctly, it can be NBA-owned and operated and have the potential to be just as large as the World Cup of soccer. That is a product, in my opinion, we want to own, not share.
I don’t know what the NBA plan is, but the above is what I will be pushing for.
There’s no more reason to deal with USA Basketball than there is to work with the Peruvian Basketball or Kazakhstan Basketball Committee."
Personally, I never liked the Dream Team concept or any professionals in the Olympics. But I never had a problem justifying why the professionals were sent in the first place. To stop sending the best players in to world simply to make a profit is wrong, and it will ruin Olympic Basketball.
The Olympics have never been about money. They've been about competition and representing your country anything else—and it simply takes away about what Olympic events represent.
To pull them out after the 2012 London Games just shows what is most important to Stern and the owners, and that's the dollar.
Stern has never been one to care what the fans wanted. He never has and never will. But as long as he's making a buck, then everything is fine in his book. This is just another example of Stern placing greed before the fans.
If he was smart, he would put an end to this talk now while he can still save face. Otherwise, Olympic Basketball will take a hit, and the NBA owners will look as greedy as ever.
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