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Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant helped the USA men’s basketball team win the gold medal. But if NBA Commissioner David Stern has his way, none of them will be eligible to play in the 2016 Olympic games. AP Photo/Charles Krupa
It’s a good thing that James Harden made this Olympics team, because if the NBA gets their way and puts a 23 year old age limit on the U.S. team, then Harden will not be able to play in the 2016 games. AP Photo/Charles Krupa
To make the games more competitive, the NBA may not send their top stars to the 2016 Olympics.
The USA basketball team has proven their point. That the Americans that play in the NBA are the best in the world.
After embarrassing themselves in 2004 with a bronze medal in Australia because the top NBA players declined to play for the team, a sense of pride was instilled into NBA players, and the ship was righted in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
With the top NBA players, the USA team defeated Spain in 2008, and once again this past week. In both gold medal games the team from Spain, which featured NBA stars Pau and Marc Gasol, gave the USA team a run for their money, but in the end, the Americans had too much talent to be denied.
Just like in 1992 with the Dream Team, the point has been proven. The U.S. is the best, so now NBA commissioner David Stern is looking to shift gears by holding out the league’s best players in favor of a 23-years-old and under team.
Stern and other NBA owners, most notably Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban, have said that they want to keep the stars out of the Olympics because of the injury factor, the wear and tear on the marquee players, and a 23 and under team would make the Olympic games more competitive, instead of the USA team steam rolling their competition.
But many fans and critics do not like those arguments to keep the NBA stars out of the Olympics.
Every other country sends their best players, so why should the U.S. team do them a favor by giving them a better chance to compete? The Jamaican sprint team in track and field took the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the men’s 200-meter dash, they took the gold and silver in the 100-meter dash, and they dominated the field in the 4x100-meter relay while setting a world record. Should they stop sending their best runners so that the rest of the world has a chance to win? Nope, they will continue to dominate.
There have been no major injuries in Olympic action, and many of the players have had career seasons after playing in the Olympics. After the 2008 Olympics, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol helped the Lakers win the championship, while LeBron James was the league’s MVP.
Reports say that there may be other motives for Stern to add an age restriction to the Olympic team. The NBA does not profit off of the Olympic games, which is one reason why Cuban thinks the idea of sending the league’s top stars makes no sense. Stern is not suggesting that this age cap be put on the FIBA World Championships, which is similar to soccer’s FIBA World Cup. While the NBA has no financial interest in the Olympics, the league does in the FIBA World Championships.
It would appear that Cuban, and several other NBA owners, would get their wish. They would send their star players to a world championship where they can make millions of dollars.
With the star basketball players skipping the Olympics, it would raise interest in FIBA’s World Cup of Basketball.
The Olympics is a money making machine, and so is the NBA. The NBA is not making any money off of the Olympics, but they will off of the World Cup. It is as simple as that.