There was a note in today’s NY Times saying that European Soccer leaders have unanimously backed a proposal to limit participation in future Olympics to players under the age of 21. (Currently, the Olympics are limited to under 23 plus 3 overage players. ).
All I can say is Amen.
I have argued why its crazy for the NBA to loan its best players to the USOC , which is first, last and middle a for profit organization that is using our players to generate billions of dollars of revenues. Not millions, BILLIONs.
Its crazy on every level.
Now that the European Soccer Community is pushing to remove their most highly paid and best players from the Olympics, we should support their efforts.
For the major revenue generating sports, the Olympics are no longer about Patriotism. They are a business.
If we want to find out which country has the best basketball, lets create a competitive tournament that is honest about why it exists and make it a profit making entity that shares the profits with its participants. A notion that is foreign to the Olympic Committee .
When we sent the Dream Team in 1992, it was the right thing to do at the right time. Our competition was sending what were essentially professional teams to face our collegiate players. Today, that is no longer the case. The NBA and professional basketball has become an international sport.
We could still send our under 21 players to the Olympics. They will represent our country admirably, Im sure. More importantly, it would be a great business move for the NBA. Those players we send will get far more branding and marketing assigned to them then their current one and done collegiate careers (and the prospects of playing in the Olympics may incent them to stay in college as well).
The incremental branding the Olympics would provide the players would make them far more valuable to, and marketable by the NBA should they make it to our level. To those who can’t, as young Olympians, their opportunity to continue their careers as pro players in other leagues would improve as well.
NBA fans, and this owner are tired of players who are unable to play to their full potential because they play for other profit seeking enterprises . Its not just about Mavs players. Its about players for all NBA teams. Its harder to sell tickets when a star on the other team cant play due to injury. Its time we follow the lead of these European Soccer leaders and ask our players to only play for the profit seeking enterprise that pays them and limit the Olympics to players under 21. IF the Olympics can make billions using our under 21 players, more power to them.