Blake Griffin's Injury Will Scare Top Talent from Future Olympic Teams
Olympic basketball is an event based on pride and reputation. Each and every athlete who wears the United States' colors and letters across their chest have become national heroes. They've also become an NBA owner's worst nightmare.
With the threat of injury a disastrous reality, the presence of NBA players in the Olympic games has always been a legitimate concern. In 2012, it appears as if that fear has become a living nightmare.
Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin has suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee. For those L.A. faithful, you're well-aware that this is the same knee that forced Griffin to miss the entire 2009-10 NBA season.
Fortunately for the Clippers, Griffin will be ready for training camp. What he will miss, however, are the 2012 London Olympics.
Source close to Clippers injured star Blake Griffin tells Y! he will be ready for training camp which would suggest he won't be an Olympian— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 13, 2012
While we instantly assume that Griffin will recover from this injury and return to form, we must acknowledge the possibility that he will not. This is the second severe injury he has suffered to the same knee, bringing along thoughts of a name we've all learned to love but fear: Brandon Roy.
But this article isn't about Blake Griffin's future. This article is about the future of Olympic basketball.
Will Blake Griffin's injury scare NBA players away from Olympic play?
NBA ownership has long been in opposition to their players joining the Olympic ranks for this very reason. Injury is a risk regardless of what their players do, but never more than when they hit the court. For once, however, NBA players will be in conjunction with those fears.
As David Stern proposes a 23-and-under Olympic basketball roster, the next step to be taken could include waiver forms for each player involved. An owner is unlikely to support the idea of paying players who fall to injury in a non-NBA outing.
This could potentially lead to a contractual obligation that states a player will be docked pay should they suffer an injury in Olympic play. As we've seen time and time again, there just isn't much more important to the world's shallow athletes than money itself.
Beyond the proposed waiver, however, is the reality.
As players such as Rajon Rondo opt to remain home during Olympic play, a new generation could follow in his footsteps. Injury is always a possibility and the potential loss of an NBA season is not worth the risk. No matter how powerful the pride of a nation may be, the longevity of an NBA career will outweigh any Olympic aspirations.
Not to mention, the potential loss of a max contract as a period of free agency transpires will lead to some high-profile absentees. Additionally, players such as Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade have suggested pay for the Olympians to no avail and heavy criticism.
Regardless of how you cut it, missing out on money is simply not an option. As Blake Griffin goes down with yet another serious injury, that possibility slowly turns into a legitimate fear.
One that could change the Olympic games for years to come.
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