Love Is Stronger Than Pride

 

By Stefan Anderson

In 1992, when FIBA allowed professional players to participate in the Olympic competition the United States have always decided to assemble the greatest rosters known to man on their Men’s National Team. The United States later seen their fate in the 2004 Olympics, where the roster they put together looked inferior to its international competitors. Ultimately the Men’s national team left Greece with a bronze medal, walking away with an Olympic gold medal for the 3rd time in their illustrious history.

The bronze medal affected the stars of the NBA and brought their attention back to international competition as Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, LeBron James and company all signed to compete in the 2008 Olympics to help “redeem” the United States pride and bring the gold back to their native country.  They did just so and with the opportunity to play along the best competition in the NBA and under legendary Coach K, players are honored to join the national team again.

In a friendly, Blue versus White competition between the USA’s prospects, the attitude for the Men’s national team changes. One of the rising stars and premier players of the NBA, Paul George suffered a tragic injury, shown above.  Not only players, but the brass of each organization are now speculating if they are going to let their star and prized franchise players continue to compete in international games in the future.

George’s injury could be a freak accident and could happen anytime you step on a court; it still makes many conscious about the situation. Mark Cuban, one of the most outspoken people in the NBA, of course has his opinion about what he thinks about international competition and NBA players in it. Cuban takes his jabs at the IOC and NBA by stating “The (International Olympic Committee) is playing the NBA. The IOC is an organization that has been rife with corruption, to the point where a member was accused of trying to fix an Olympic event in Salt Lake. The IOC (pulls in) billions of dollars.”

The Mavericks also went on talk on why he believes there should be a separate World Cup and went on to add “The pros in multiple sports are smart enough to not play when they are eligible free agents. But teams take on huge financial risk so that the IOC committee members can line their pockets. The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money.”

Also, The NBA’s MVP and the proclaimed leader of this summer’s World Cup team, Kevin Durant, withdrew himself from the competition. Stating that he would rather take the time to focus and prepare himself for the upcoming season.

Based on speculation, many believe that the George’s incident can be a cause especially because the injury could taint the young superstar career forever. Also with superstars not willing sacrifice their career for a game that only happens once every 3 to 4 years makes no sense to some. Kobe Bryant never played in international competition until “The Redeem Team” came about so it’s not unusual to see that happen.

All sides have a valid point and make clear arguments but what the Olympic games does for certain superstars are unparalleled because it has a lot more pros then cons. Players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, are great examples of that, when went and played in FIBA world championship games and then returned to the NBA, you seen the great impact on their games it had. Many players on the 2008 team refer to playing with true professional like Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant have shaped their NBA careers in a great direction.

Of course the cons that can happen like injury can happen but it is ultimately apart the NBA and playing basketball in general.  Seeing the greatest athletes compete with and against each other makes a great sight for viewers and gives the players their best chance to succeed as well. So NBA owners and GM’s should continue their star players and franchise players continue to compete and solely leave that reasonability on the players themselves who rave for the opportunity in most cases.

One Then Some

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By Stefan Anderson

Dallas owner Mark Cuban is far from shy and a little past outspoken on most of his comments, but his comment on Sunday led me to an epiphany. Cuban had some statements on college freshman who were standouts in high school, suggesting that they should just play in the NBA’s development league instead taking their talents to the NCAA and big universities.

Cuban went on to stay “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.” The Mavericks owner ideas are great because with the idea of players required age going up to 21 instead of 19, makes the D-League a better opportunity for great talents to pursue their professional career earlier.

I personally enjoy the college game and love the opportunity watch NCAA Tournament each year, but I do believe some players are just in college playing a year of basketball where they do not learn and are not mature enough to play in the NBA. For the players that believe their talent is above average and want to get experience while earning the chance to play in the NBA, the development league is the right decision.

And if the idea comes into fruition, each team should have their own D-League team and create a farm system for the NBA similar to Major League Baseball.  The NBA has made its efforts the past years expanding the developmental league to now 17 teams, but if all 30 teams would become parent teams and have their own farm system, it would be hard to eliminate talent that the NCAA withholds currently with the one and done and system and gives the opportunity for the league to grow and players to become more mature.

The NBA’s expanded farm system of the D-League would not only benefit players in their maturity in basketball, it will also benefit the teams with revenue and globalization. With each team designating a place to make a D-League team, that would provide more entertainment for those local cities. For instance, if you live Elmira, NY and you are a passionate basketball fans and would like to give your family the opportunity see a live basketball, a D-League team in your area can save you the costs of going to a Knicks or Nets game, but gaining the same kind of opportunity. Not only will it the beneficial for the fans, teams can gain extra revenue and expand create NBA League’s internationally as basketball has become a worldwide sport.

The idea might sound far fetched to some and seem to be cheapening the brand of basketball, but so does talent that doesn’t equal in today’s one and dones. The NBA created the D-League for these purposes and the money should be put the right as the sport has become a billion dollar industry. Something to consider and I believe would be a great idea for strengthening the game of basketball for the player as well as the fans.