NBA commissioner David Stern has quietly behind the scenes trying to partner with FIBA to create a World Cup of basketball and have the Olympics be a tournament for those players 23 and under. The NBA players do not like this idea, however they really do not have a voice in the matter.
NBPA executive director Billy Hunter has been too preoccupied to help out the players he is to represent due to other issues that are on his plate. However, this is when the players need him to help out with their interests.
Why the owners want to push FIBA to turn the Olympics into an irrelevant under-23 tournament and ship the stars over to a different two-year cycle in the world championships is understandable, but short-sighted.
The World Cup of Basketball won't come close to matching soccer, because nationalistic allegiances are far, far more fervent to soccer teams. The Olympics frame NBA stars as global icons in a way nothing else could, but most NBA owners don't think that benefits them in such a tangible way and want a clear revenue stream flowing through a partnership with FIBA.
The players once again will be the one's who will be put in the middle and stuck, because if they decide to not play in a potential World Cup of basketball they will not be seen as patriotic. It will be just one more thing that the owners can get away with against the players. They have already came out big in the lockout with the new revenue split toward players contracts as well as contract lengths and other things.
That is why the players need Hunter to step up and do something about changing the Olympic format to a 23-under tournament and the start of a World Cup of basketball, because in the end the owners win and will make more money while the players will get nothing in a World Cup tournament. Plus, the Olympic experience will be go away for a lot of NBA players.
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