Today, Marc Cuban told Yahoo! That “…the Olympics are huge for-profit endeavor. It makes no sense that NBA owners subsidize it.” The article then goes on to detail the skepticism of other higher ups in the NBA.
Essentially, those involved in the business of basketball aren’t comfortable with their star players risking injury for no money in return. For the players, it’s a golden marketing opportunity to get exposure internationally. Cuban of course has a point, why should owners and GMs pay players tens of millions of dollars only to risk major injury playing for an event that won’t increase profit for the team? The answer is there is no answer.
Proposing an age limit or preventing star players from participating is certainly not the solution. Basketball is America’s sport through and through, they’ve only not won the gold in four Olympics. It’s our way of asserting ourselves on the international scene. Other teams can’t compete with America’s athleticism and intensity, and the country needs that. It’s important to be reminded how powerful our nation can be, and it always seems like Olympic basketball is a sticking point of patriotism for viewers everywhere. Simply put, it’s the most popular and important Olympic event for Americans, but letting these players participate is bad business, and you’re a fool is you think billionaires are going to allow a bad business decision simply for the pride of our country. It’d be nice if they would, but that’s an idealistic way of thinking that has no foundation in reality.
So in the end, were no closer to a solution. The push for a new system of Olympic basketball players will continue, as will opposition to it, hopefully the debate wages on until I’m long gone. No matter how fiscally irresponsible it is to allow NBA players to represent their country in the Olympics without some sort of profit for the teams they come from, it’s an essential part of the games that can’t be lost…especially for America.