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Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 at 9:55 am  |  40 responses

Russia and Lithuania Against David Stern’s Proposed Olympic Age Limit


Coaches for the Russian and Lithuanian sides are the latest to come out and publicly decry NBA commissioner David Stern’s wish to limit participation in the Olympics from NBA players with 23-and-under rule going forward. From Yahoo! Sports: “I would hope that the countries would be in an uproar about this,’ Russia coach David Blatt said. ‘Who is one country to determine for everyone how international basketball should be played, and particularly how the Olympic Games should be managed? It’s not supposed to be like that. If it’s a global game, it’s a global game.’ [...] Stern will soon meet with FIBA secretary Patrick Baumann, who told the Sports Business Journal that he needed to hear many more details from the NBA before bringing an Under-23 tournament idea to the 200-plus countries in membership. If the NBA doesn’t get what it wants out of a financial partnership with FIBA in a World Cup tournament, Baumann sounded dubious over the NBA’s chances of financing its own non-sanctioned global event. ‘Everybody’s free to organize a tournament,’ Baumann told SBJ. ‘Whether the rest of the world will participate is their choice. If (the NBA is) to distribute billions and billions, then maybe they might participate. If it’s to retain all the benefits for themselves, my guess is the rest of the world won’t participate.’ [...] Lithuania’s coach Kestutis Kemzura loves a global basketball climate where he could lose to Nigeria in June, watch them lose to Team USA by 83 points and still somehow come so, so close to beating the Americans. The world keeps getting smaller. Kemzura says the gap keeps closing and he wants Lithuania to keep taking its best shot at the United States’ superstars. He wants to beat the best, wants to beat the USA and wants it on the biggest stage in the world: the Olympics. ‘We went to the qualification in Venezuela on the first of June, and some of our players came straight after they finished (professional) seasons,’ Kemzura said. ‘Of course (the Olympics) matters. We were fighting for this place. I don’t understand this idea of sending younger players, not sending our best to the Olympics. I do not understand it. If we leave everything on money, and money runs the show, where’s the sport? Where’s national team idea?’”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    co-sign david blatt: “Who is one country to determine for everyone how international basketball should be played” u can also exchange basketball for politics and/or economics and it still makes just as much sense.

  • J-MaC

    Thanks Coaches!

  • pposse

    heres to David Stern hopefully feeling salty after this meeting with the FIBA secretary.

  • LA Huey

    Who is one company to determine for an entire country how Olympic basketball should be viewed? Fack the IOC and NBC for making it so difficult for me to watch basketball. Bring on the Basketball World Cup!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC03hmS1Brk Max

    Why would someone else than Stern agree with what he said?

  • http://twetter beccamyrrh

    i think they should be very angry with stern trying to meddle in their business

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Stern just needs to conform to FIBA more. I mean, afterall, FIBA are the world governing body for this sport. They run the show..
    But a Basketball World Cup could be put in use, but would every nation be willing to participate in it??

  • pposse

    nba ballers already have to play 82 games in the regular season. Look what happened this year with all the injuries in a condensed season, and now a basketball world cup would essentially take away the summer from some of the greatest athletes in the world. These guys are still human, overuse will cause fatigue and injury. I dont see this as a good idea at all.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    everybody talking about this world cup realizes that there already is a world championship for basketball right? ok

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    “But it is the Olympics, and this is important. If they go to a tournament with just the young playing, it would lose all the beauty of basketball – just another youth kind of tournament. The USA would just dominate it, because there’s just so much more talent (at the) under-23 level.” – Martynas Pocius, Lithuanian National Team Player.

  • LA Huey

    The FIBA World Championships were renamed to “FIBA World Cup”. We sent our ‘B Team’ to Turkey in 2010 to compete, remember? Stern just wants this already existing, non-Olympic, international tournament to raise it’s profile so that the NBA can get some direct revenue from having it’s players play in an international tournament. So you’d still get to watch Team USA’s best prove it’s dominance. I don’t get why you guys are throwing a hissy fit about it.

  • LA Huey

    nbk, don’t we already dominate it because there’s just so much more talent regardless of the demographic? They could make it under-5 years old and we’d have our toddlers bringing home Gold medals.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/mark-cuban-skip-bayless-first-take-lebron_n_1619209.html albie1kenobi

    as someone who enjoys football (read: soccer), THE World Cup is much more exciting to me than Olympics, because they have the best footballers in the world. no one gives a flying fcuk about Olympics football, because they are essentially the JV team.
    what Stern is proposing will basically render Olympics basketball irrelevant. that’s the argument.

  • B.C.

    David Stern needs to be hung.

  • LA Huey

    Well, the coverage for Olympic basketball is lousy so I’d personally prefer it actually be irrelevant.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    oh definitely Huey, I just posted that because a few of us had a conversation about that very subject the other day. Someone tried to argue that the international guys are better at that age, or more competitive.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/mark-cuban-skip-bayless-first-take-lebron_n_1619209.html albie1kenobi

    @Huey, if this is fb, i would have “liked” your comment. we used to love NBA on NBC, now NBC just sucks at coverage sports.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    So Stern is talking about joining with the World Championships or replacing it? I’m not clear on this issue. Because the FIBA dude is talking like he doesn’t know what’s going on.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Stern wants to the “World Cup” which is what the “World Championships” have been called since ’11 to be the end all be all of basketball tournaments, just like the World Cup is for Soccer. Presumably, because ABC/ESPN can more easily get their hands on those rights. Seeing as how NBC has the Olympic Games and that does nothing for the NBA and does nothing to encourage NBC to give the sport or the US guys any big time coverage.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Well if soccer can do this, then what is FIBA’s problem? Soccer set the precedent, and countries already value the WC’s more than the Olympics according to what I keep hearing. One big tournament every four years for bragging rights sounds better to me.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Well, that’s what the Olympics is. And considering basketball is a small sport compared to soccer, idk if just a world event focused around basketball, as their already is, can garner that type of prestige anywhere in the near future. Part of what makes the World Cup in Soccer so exciting is that more than one team has a high chance to win. In basketball, its Americans or upset. Not so exciting, especially for the majority of the countries involved that don’t have even a puncher’s chance.

  • J-MaC

    LA Huey
    The whole point of these Olympics was about offering viewers the possibility to catch any event for free..
    If the “greedy” TV corporations in the US and/or North America are not wiling to offer this for free, it’s not on the IOC, it’s on the broadcasting union and/or NBC for offering a bad coverage of the event.

    Y’all seem to forget about the World Cup in 2002 (or whatever u want to call it) at HOME in Indianapolis when we finished at a miserable 6th place. Don’t bring the “B” team argument please. The “C” team did a better job in a “hostile” environment.

    Chemistry beats Talent, was not really saying the players are better of course we have the best. It is about putting a group together.

  • J-MaC

    Allenp
    The main difference is that soccer has much more competitive and profitable leagues or teams worldwide than Bball

  • LA Huey

    J-Mac, If the “whole point of these Olympics about offering viewers the possibility to catch any event for free.” The IOC could have granted the broadcasting rights to a company on the condition that they actually made it accessible in such a way.
    I’m not sure what you’re getting at bringing up 2002 but there is a HUGE difference between the USAB program in 2002 and as it is now.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    NBC doesn’t cover Olympic basketball for one very simple reason. They don’t have the rights to the NBA. Cut and Dry. It’s done on purpose.

  • Allenp

    Basketball isn’t soccer but it is pretty popular. And even.someone as ignorant as I am about soccer knows that there are clear World Cup favorites every year. When was the last time the US was a serious contender?

  • LA Huey

    I think he meant the pool of legit contenders is bigger. We could resolve this by making the USA field two teams: East and West based on hometowns.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Never. But there is more than one team in the hunt for the world cup every year. There are some teams that are clearly better but not like US basketball vs Nigeria for example – and Upsets happen way way more often in soccer. The whole culture of the sport is different. And for how popular basketball is, it really doesn’t compare to soccer. Soccer is like the NFL in the U.S., but everywhere.

  • LA Huey

    Well, as you mentioned earlier, thanks to NBC (lack of) coverage, World Cup Hoops has potential to be bigger than Olympic Hoops. It does require Olympic hoops to become irrelevant by instituting a rule that prevents the best players from participating.

  • J-MaC

    LA Huey
    It is, but broadcasting rights and revenues is probably more important back in the new continent.
    With an under 23 rule, the talent pool will be bigger and the commitment lower, making it harder to create team chemistry.

  • J-MaC

    True that a BBall WC could be bigger, but it will take some work.
    Just look at the point a view of some of the players now.
    The Olympics is more important than the WC now.

  • LA Huey

    J-Mac, so basically I understand what you’re getting at as far as TV goes. On the whole “the talent pool will be bigger and the commitment lower” part. As far as the US goes, you’re wrong. Coaches in the youth ranks of USAB have been talking about how the under-23 crowd are much more committed and passionate about playing for since the NBA’s best are back on the international stage for Team USA. I can’t speak on behalf of other countries though but I imagine it’d be similar. Chemistry problems would be a mute point because every team would have similar issues.

  • LA Huey

    *basically I don’t understand….

  • LA Huey

    We’ve had a discussion about this point before, the players will be happy to join if it means the WC could add more dollars to the BRI (which means they get more money as well)

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    They ALREADY HAVE A BASKETBALL WORLD CUP. It just isn’t a big deal, because the Olympics, and the lack of global interest in basketball compared to Soccer.

  • Waskito

    Just thinking there will be country that fake age…..(some gymnast from certain country raised that question) and there also players that will raise our question based on their face even though they are not faking their age… ( certain first draft pick in NBA looks older than their age). :)

  • MikeC.

    I had several points to make, but Huey already made them all. So, co-sign each Huey point. NBC (and CTV in Canada) have done a craptastic job of showing not just the basketball games, but the highlights. Bball coverage has flat-out sucked butthole. I’m not a fan of any sports other than basketball, so this Olympic coverage has left me waiting for the Olympics to get the hell off my TV. I fully support a Bball World Cup, and the age restrictions that go with it. I’d move the age limit to under-25 (for players who are currently NBA players, or just completed an NBA season) for Olympics and 25 and up for WC. If a player has never played in the NBA, they’re free to play in both tournaments.

  • http://facebook.ccm/officialteamawesome brownjesus

    Look I absolutely despise Stern, I hate his face and everything he does. He is a corrupt petty man.

    However, you have to understand that the Olympics is equally as corrupt. They make billions of dollars and the players see very little of it.

    I am also very frustrated by the coverage of these olympics. It is so hard to find highlights for events and IOC is relentless on removing any videos online.

    I think a basketball world cup would be a much better event for us the viewers rather than basketball at the olympics. They would make an effort to cater to the viewers needs and have a much better presentation.

    I just wish there was a way for Stern to not make any money out of it.

  • J-MaC

    LA Huey
    The bad coverage thing in is due to rights to the event not being shared between the different networks, which does not seem to be a problem in Europe as multiple TV channels are showing the events. On top of that the European Broadcasting Union has a website with live feeds and replays of the events. As I said, it’s on the greedy corporations just wanting to generate revenues without putting in much effort to please all the viewers.

    The U-19 team last year had some chemistry/cohesion issues and most of the better players were not in. Just a small sample of the kind of thing that may happen with a U-23 crowd being even less available with their own agendas. Most of the other countries will have much less chemistry issues, as the turnover of players is lower.

    It’s just my point of view with the facts that I have.

  • Steven

    What Stern wants to do is what soccer has but without sharing profits with the other 200 countries. So he needs FIBA to get a cut and in return pressure others countries to be involved. This way it doesnt become the joke the world baseball classic has become. If FIBA head is as corupt as Stern a deal will be struck. But will FIBA get enough of a share to distribute to the 200 countries?

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