In 1992, the USA Basketball "Dream Team" dominated competition, as the NBA sent superstars such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to the Olympic stage for the first time. After a disappointing bronze-medal finish in 2004, USA reloaded in 2008 with the "Redeem Team," drawing from the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
The United States once again looks to send a stacked "Dream Team"-like roster to London this summer, as anything short of gold will surely be a disappointment. However, 2012 may be the last year the United States sends a superstar roster to the Olympics.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, not only is NBA commissioner David Stern looking to enter future Olympics with an under-23 team, but he's also hoping to start a World Cup for basketball:
For months, the NBA has been discussing an end to the Olympic basketball Dream Team movement and delivering its superstars to a proposed rebranding of the world championships called "The World Cup of Basketball."
By initiating a "World Cup," the NBA would generate more revenue, as right now the Olympic Committee has control of the revenue generated through the Olympics. A financial partnership with FIBA in starting a new world championship would allow the NBA to generate more money.
The Yahoo! article also gets outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's thoughts on the matter:
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.
For many years, NBA owners have been against sending superstars to the Olympics in fear of injury. With the new proposed "World Cup of Basketball," a source told Yahoo! Sports in the same report that owners would be more willing to let their players play internationally as long as revenue is being shared (with the owners).
As David Stern and the league deliberate on the future of NBA superstar play internationally, one thing is for certain. Money and increased revenue in the NBA will be a colossal factor in whether or not the Dream Team movement in the Olympics is abolished. As German-Swiss author Robert Walser said, "Money rules the world."