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Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 at 10:05 am  |  74 responses

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo Against Olympic Age Limit for NBA Players


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

With Team USA competing for the Gold medal in the Olympics, one issue that hangs over the London Games like a black cloud is the push from the NBA to limit the participation of its star players going forward.

David Stern and owners such as Mark Cuban are strongly advocating for a 23-and-under age limit on NBA players in the Olympics. They want to create their own money-generating international basketball tournament instead, the so-called “World Cup of Basketball”.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo is advocating for NBAers to be able to compete in future Olympics, regardless of age.

Per KTAR:

“The game comes first, money comes second,” he said at a team practice. “I’m not quite sure that’s true for all owners in sports.” Colangelo said lowering the age limit would deny NBA stars an opportunity to play for their country. For example, guard James Harden, a former Arizona State University star, would not have made this year’s team because of the age rule. “I don’t think that rule should be put into (effect),” Harden said. “That would mean that I couldn’t come back. The majority of the guys that play, the faces of the NBA, are 26 (or) 27, so that means they wouldn’t be allowed to play (either). Ultimately, the decision isn’t Colangelo’s. But he is lobbying owners not to impose the rule. He said players want to decide whether or not to play for the Olympic team.

“They love it,” Colangelo said. “I mean, it’s pretty hard to argue with something as simple as supporting the flag and representing your country.” […] Colangelo brought his expertise to Team USA at the request of Stern after the 2004 Athens Olympics, which ended with an embarrassing bronze medal behind Argentina and Italy. “At the time, the commissioner said he thought I was the only person who had the credibility and the respect of the players and people around the world because of my experience and because of my resume,” he said.

This will be a tough fight for NBA players and Jerry Colangelo to win. Regardless of the age-limit proposal’s lack of popularity, the Commissioner and the owners are determined to implement this rule (and reap the financial rewards that would follow.) And we’ve all seen what happens when a battle takes place between players and ownership (see: NBA lockout.)

So, enjoy watching your favorite NBA stars take on the rest of the world in these Olympic Games. It might very well be the last time.

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  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    So most of the respected people in the basketball community are against the proposed rule expect for Stern’s dumba**? The NBA really needs implement a time limit for number of years one can be a commmissioner because Stern has overstayed his turn.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    David Stern is so easily influenced by Soccer (FIFA) that it is beyond ridiculous. Stern realises Soccer is the most popular sport in the world (which it is), and he knows Soccer has the U-23 rule, and therefore he’s wanting to implement that into Basketball. His reasonong will be “well if Soccer does it, then we do it.”
    One issue though which Stern hasn’t realised. Basketball at the Olympics has a strong tradition, and is worthy of winning the Gold. In Soccer, the Olympic tournament means nothing.. it’s all about the FIFA World Cup. A little difference. A World Cup of Basketball however.. would be awesome!

  • CDaTyrant

    Of course he is n down with the evil dictator that is Stern!

  • T. Brown

    If the players are willing to participate why should there be a rule that prevents them from doing so? The guys look at being on the Olympic team as an honor, not a duty. Of course the owners would support an age limit because it would protect their investments in the players’ health. However, the owners do not own the players and the NBA is supposed to be unaffiliated with the Olympic team. That being said, the NBA should have absolutely no say on whether or not the guys are allowed to play. Let the players who want to play continue to play. Period.

  • pposse

    wow are they serious right now? This is the last time? The only upside to this is that any foreign born NBA basketball player over the age of 23 also cannot compete in the Olympics for their respective countries. So the commissioner doesn’t care if America wins the Olympic gold every time. I guess this might promote other countries to like basketball more if they see themselves having a chance at gold; but as an American citizen i dont like it one bit!

  • http://thahiphopcorner.com Kevin

    This is bulls**t. Stern needs to go already. Get all the way the f**k outta here

  • Marc

    So if this happens and if USA happens to not even win a medal what is Stern going to say then? You don’t know that every player under 23 is going to be a star. And is every other country going to do this too. I thought playing basketball in the olympics was for the love of the game not the dollar. Guess I’m just naive.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Man players are saying this until they get a glimpse at what they could earn as part of the Basketball World Cup.
    If the NBA starts it’s own spinoff event, and is raking in millions through TV rights, sponsorships and the like with players getting a 50 percent cut, do you think cats are still going to complain?
    I think not.
    The Olympics is a for profit business that gets everyone else to pay all the costs associated with running the business and assume all the risk simply because the name says “Olympics.” Ridiculous.

  • coachkayrat

    This whole slave to the dollar thing has to stop! Oh my goodness people, there is SO MUCH MORE to life than making as much money as possible. I do realize that probably 85% of the world is delusional and looks towards outside influences for temporary happiness. But come on, wake up peeps!!

  • http://nba.com GP23

    ^ co-sign

  • Olympic soccer has an under 23 rule is because if they sent the best players in the world it would just be another world cup and it would overshadow the rest of the games. The same cant be said about basketball because its not nearly as popular as soccer globally and its not even a popular Olympic event.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, you’re making sense but there is something about the Olympics and it’s lore that a proposed “Basketball Cup” will never be able to achieve.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    JTaylor
    I think you have a point, at least for Americans. Then again, the World Cup in soccer is way more popular than the Olympics despite not having the Olympic name.
    I think that if you market it right, if you have the best players, and you have a good format, it will rise in popularity.
    You can basically claim that this tournament will decide clearly which teams are the best in the world. Set it up like the NCAA tournament as opposed to this pool play and elimination round stuff. I don’t know. All I know is that it’s not stupid to try to earn money if you’re already taking a huge chunk of the risk. If NBA players get hurt in the Olympics the owners still have to pay their salaries and they would have earned no money for what led to their injuries.

  • justin05

    There is too much controversy over money and inuries these days. Players need to quit messing around (derick rose) and learn how to play the game of bball w/o abusing their bodies. This is not the nfl. Superstar players should be able to know how to play the game well enough so they don’t become injuried too severely. Smh @ this proposed rule

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    People are forgetting that it was the NBA players who begged to play in the Olympics. Many who left college early never got a chance to compete for their country. Pippen, Stockton, Drexler, et al. said their Olympic medal was the highlight of their careers and in some respects, validated them.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    People are forgetting that it was the NBA players who begged to play in the Olympics. Many who left college early never got a chance to compete for their country. Pippen, Stockton, Drexler, et al. said their Olympic medal was the highlight of their careers and in some respects, validated them.

  • Basketball_iQ

    The olympics are about the world’s best vs the world’s best. & that’s what the hell I wanna see.
    I wouldn’t even wanna watch olympic basketball anymore.
    Stern is on the owners side bc helps them in making profit but he has to see that the owners are treating the players like prized cattle.

  • bike

    A World Cup, if set up like soccer, would demand more time and commitment from NBA players thus placing a higher risk of injury and time lost. Are the best NBA players really that motivated by money to put in that much effort in the offseason?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Olympic gold did not validate Pip, Stock or any great’s career. An NBA supertar’s career will always be validated by winning championship(s). No one remembers that Stock/Malone/Miller/Barkely won gold in 96 but everyone knows that those cats never won an NBA championship.

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

    @allenp no way they make knockout tourament like that, way too big of chance of an upset. there will be pool play guaranteed.
    but on ething i don’t understand is, there already is a world champoinship every four year. So is the nba going to just hijack that tournament from FIBA and put their name on it on order to increase it’s popularity?

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    @Jtaylor21 I never said the Olympics validated those guys’ careers. Notice how I prefaced my comment with “Pippen, Stockton, Drexler, et al. said …” They were quoted as saying this by the author of the new book about the Dream Team. Their statement took the Shock Exchange by surprise as well. If you have a problem with it, then take it up with Pippen, Drexler and Stockton.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    The bottom line is, Stern is desperate for Basketball to overtake Soccer as the biggest sport in the world.
    Extremely tough task ahead. But it could be done.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, I like your idea but you have to remember that Futbol is by far the most popular sport in the world. Also futbol players/teams/fans would much rather win the World Cup than Olympic Gold, I don’t know if NBA players would have the same passion for winning a proposed basketball cup that they do for winning a gold medal. Money changes all that though

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Remember now, in the Sport of Soccer, winning the World Cup is the pinnacle of a players career. In Basketball, an NBA championship is more treasured. That’s a common difference which many people seem to forget. It’s because Soccer is considered more internationally historic.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Shock, if they said that then my bad.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    @Jtayor21 No problem. When I first read it, I did a double-take myself.

  • @GP23

    basketball is not even the most popular sport in America, how is it suppose to overtake soccer as the most popular sport in the world?

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Shock, any other double-take moments you can enlighten us with from the book?

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Shock Exchange

    @GP23 I haven’t read the book yet, just excerpts and “teasers.” Before I dig into it, I want to ensure I have enough free time to get through it all. But I heard the inside stories about the individuals involved (Barkely, Jordan, Magic, Chuck Daley, Drexler, Bird) is to die for.

  • Jerome

    Uh, I don’t think a chairman gets to vote. Only the board … am I wrong?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Jerry Colangelo doesn’t have any power to compel athletes and neither does David Stern. The owners have some power if they rewrite contracts and remove contract guarantees, but that’s something what would likely require a change in the collective bargaining agreement or be negotiated individually.
    Bottom line, this can’t happen unless the players want it to happen, and since the NBPA is already discussing the switch with Stern, it seems some players definitely see the monetary value of the plan.
    The player’s would still be representing their countries, just in a different venue.

  • J-MaC

    ^^^ Indeed, however winning Gold can relieve some of the pain of not winning the ultimate BBall prize. The Olympic men’s soccer tournament allows 2 players over 23yrs, if the NBA wants to implement that kind of rule, the FIBA will probably have to do the same with the other Basketball federations or the NBA will only be able to restrict US players. If the NBA really wants to push that they will have to do it trough the next CBA or/and have the support of the FIBA to put this silly rule to effect..

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Currently, Basketball is the second most popular sport in the world. Only Soccer is ahead of it in participation and viewers. In America alone, Basketball is probably the most played, but most viewed is Football.

  • J-MaC

    The olympics is about pride and defending your country colors, in most sports it’s an ultimate achievement to participate.. To bad for the Bball players who fully develop after they are 23. With the way players are developed in most competitive countries, the US youngsters wouldn’t stand a chance against teams with youth pro players who have been around each other for a while. See what happened in Indianapolis for the world championships and that was NBA players…

  • http://www.nba.com Gman

    correction GP23. Cricket is.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    Yeah it’s not basketball it’s cricket and then I believe it’s basketball.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    JMAC
    Actually, didn’t the Americans just win the Under 18 or Under 19 championships for like the second or third year in a row? I believe SLAM had that article up a while back.
    US dominates at every level guy.

  • http://Slamonline.com Black Mamba

    What I don’t get is why the hell Stern should have juristiction to put in that dumbass rule. And couldn’t the players just boycott it? They have rights. If they leave then what are the owners gonna do? Trade them?

  • LA Huey

    I’ve talked to people that aren’t basketball die-hards like us, they don’t really find Olympic basketball to be a big deal. I don’t think the Olympics will miss hoops if it left. The players are probably also open to it because they didn’t really have a problem with the on-jersey ads for next season.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Redd

    I highly doubt the Olympics would miss hoops. They suspended 3 Badminton teams with no regrets. They know the Olympics will continue to thrive without an one athlete or athletes. Basketball really is simply an oversight until maybe the finals.

  • LA Huey

    Also, since we’re so loaded with talent, USA should send two teams to the FIBA World Cup (which it’s been officially renamed). Maybe split it up by East and West by players’ hometowns.

  • http://Slamonline.com Black Mamba

    Olympic Basketball isn’t really on TV much when it’s live so you guys are probably right. The Olympics wouldn’t miss basketball

  • J-MaC

    Allenp
    US just won the U17 for the second time. They dominated that competition true. However the finished 5th for the U19 competition last year and they have been pretty challenged in that event every time it has been held. SLAM needs to report the L’s too.. lol. So it’s pretty clear that the domination thing on every level is far from being the case now.

  • J-MaC

    Live games and replay events for the Olympics:
    http://www.eurovisionsports.tv
    For those complaining about the coverage;-)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The US generally has the best players at every age. Whether they all play, or how close it is to some other countries (like Spain, with Rubio-when healthy- and that squad) is the variable. But for the most part, the US guys are considerably better. This just would kill the intrigue of the Olympics for much of the US. In terms of for the Olympics, in a country where having a legitimate chance to win gold would be more of a reason to watch then just to see the NBA guys, this will be a profitable proposition. It would totally render winning the Gold in Olympic Basketball irrelevant. You can’t call yourself the best basketball team in the world, you can say we are the best team under the age of 23, but what the hell does that matter? Plus, as in contrast to as not such a big deal this is for the US and it’s players, in terms of prestige, it’s a huge honor for players in other countries, where the Olympics, and playing for your country are valued so much more culturally.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    What I’m saying is, the only benefit of this for the Olympic Committee (or whoever collects the checks – which is what this is about) is an increase in revenue and ratings from countries outside of the United States. Whether the appeal of multiple countries and teams is greater financially then they will make off of the United States market.

  • the box out of

    Who told you guys nobody watches the Olympics bball or any olympic event? they are on here in Asia 24/7 in cable and over 3 local channels. the wrold doesnt revolve around america airheads.

  • the box out of

    I just watched 3 straight bball games now. Including, USA-Nig. Svedh of Russia is a pg to watch out for. 6’8 is your own hybrid of Rubio/Nash.Spain played lacklusterly escaping with a 1 pt. victory over GBK after several 3 pts. shot by the brits. Luol played hero ball on 4th. Including, USA-Nig. which has just started.On swimming, Phelps was amazing though on butterfly and overall starting from 8th catching up to win first.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    nobody said “nobody” watches the olympics. It’s about which scenario garners MORE viewers. Obviously, millions of people watch the Olympics. That is implied. If you are thinking rationally, you don’t need someone to state that too you
    -
    and the idea that the Olympics wouldn’t suffer if Basketball was taken out is not right or wrong. The Olympics would still be wildly popular. But if you think it wouldn’t lose some ratings (unless it replaced it with an event that is just as popular) then you are crazy.

  • the box out of

    @nbk
    Well that is the impression im getting after skimming to comments here. You think bball is still too US centered just because you started it or you still have the most atheltic players. I dont hear anybody cheer that much for the lebron and kobe dunks that much compared to dream team II. You think people not caring for a single even like bball being taken out is crazy.You are indeed delusional.

    ————————-

    MAybe at the start but the next and onwards. The only reason the world watches basketball is either thier country is playing or they get entertained by it esp. NBA players. Yet the latter has lost it’s mystery. Thats why you and stern should stop beig delusional since only US loves bball that much as a whole and its not even you no.1 watched sports. Get real.

  • the box out of

    *cares

  • the box out of

    *cares

  • J-MaC

    NBK
    It’s not about having the best players, it’s about having the best team and putting the TEAM in positions to win games.. Hello Indianapolis debacle or Athens failure.
    The olympic basketball event should then be called U23 Basketball, nothing granted for the US even with good or great players on board. Just check the historical results of the Olympic Basketball event, the U19 championship or the World Cup.
    Nothing is given, to bad the spirit of sport(s) is spoiled by revenues…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    what. the. fnck. are. you. talking. about.
    .
    .
    do you magically know how i feel about what the olympic rules should be? did i say my opinion either way, anywhere? (no)
    .
    also, cheering? you think cheering about LeBron and Kobe dunks is what matters? cheering? really?
    .
    money talks.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    that was at the box out
    .
    J-Mac – i realize what winning is about. (“The US generally has the best players at every age. Whether they all play, or how close it is to some other countries is the variable – ou can’t call yourself the best basketball team in the world, you can say we are the best team under the age of 23, but what the hell does that matter?”) but thanks buddy. like i said, this is about money and what makes the Olympic coffers the most of it.

  • Adam

    NBK, I genuinely think that the Olympics not would suffer viewer wise as much as you many think. It runs simultaneously to other events, today it had to go up against Rowing, Judo, Swimming, Skeet Shooting, Canoe, Gymnastics, Ladies Soccer,Cycling and others. When you consider that medals were being decided in each of those other events along with the varied nationalities of the competitors in each of those sports causing viewers in each individual nation to have increase interest in other sport those watching are well spread out. Basketball is my favourite sport, but the great thing about the Olympics is that there is so much going on, it’s easy to move onto something else and still be entertained. I think stern would be grossly in error if he was to believe that some kind of manufactured NBA international tournament/lowering age limits would be more beneficial to his product.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    like i said, “the idea that the Olympics wouldn’t suffer if Basketball was taken out is not right or wrong. The Olympics would still be wildly popular. But if you think it wouldn’t lose some ratings (unless it replaced it with an event that is just as popular) then you are crazy.”
    .
    see the word SOME? – idk if you meant to type “I genuinely think that the Olympics not would suffer viewer wise as much as you may think” or ” I genuinely think that the Olympics not would suffer viewer wise as much as many think” – so just to clarify, wanted to make sure you actually read what i said

  • AdamD

    You used the word ‘some’, you then said that a person would be crazy if they did not agree with that. I pointed out that i believed not as many as you may think, perhaps if i put the word ‘though’ at the end of my sentence you would have understood me more. So take it as ‘I genuinely think that the olimpics would not suffer as much as you may think though.’ This was not a shot at you, i was merely trying to pick up on your earlier point. Alright?

  • J-MaC

    NBK
    You either can’t read, are stubborn or think the US is centre of the world, go check facts. As you seem lazy I’ll give you some “cheap” links to backup what I mean. If any interest to dig deeper… I don’t see any domination here, seems pretty open to me. It will be even more relevant if we send kids to compete against men. That was my point mostly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIBA_Basketball_World_Cup
    I know some of those teams were assembled at the “last minute” or was composed of collegiate players and/or overseas vets.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIBA_U-19_World_Championship
    Some players weren’t available to attend due to their agendas.

    However I get what you are saying “Generally we (USA) have the best players”, but it has often not been enough to get the top spot in any competition.

    Yeah, money talks;-)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    you typed “I genuinely think that the Olympics not would suffer viewer wise as much as you many think” which doesn’t make sense. So i asked what you meant.
    .
    I typed SOME (“of a certain unspecified number, amount, degree, etc”) – i don’t know how you could possibly interpret what i meant by some. other than, more than 1 person. so, you either think the Olympics won’t lose ANY viewers, or you made an illogical assumption.

  • http://Slamonline.com Black Mamba

    Cosign all nbk posts

  • P

    team usa to david stern: suck it

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

    This was one big F u to Stern..
    I wanted to see 30 3′s dammit.

  • AdamD

    Incorrect on your part. For a person to say ‘some’ and then for someone to respond with ‘Not as many as you may think’ in not an unusual turn of phrase where i’m from when talking statistics. Frankly some can mean any number, as you eloquently pointed out, but it depends on the context in which it’s used. You qualified your statement by saying ‘unless it was replaced by an event equally popular’. This would suggest to me that you feel significant viewership would be lost unless this ‘replacement sport’ was found, the fact that you referred to something ‘equally popular’ would suggest that in your construct basketball holds some kind of high rating in terms of viewing figures, hence why i came to this conclusion, which is logical in the terms of this whole thread. It has been suggested that basketball is the third most popular sport to play in the world. So one would believe there would be great interest in watching it. Perhaps i am wrong, but that’s how i interpreted what you said. Regardless, i feel that we are arguing over a complete non-point in terms of the conversation purely because i used your name at the start of a post in order to bring a topic to discussion.

  • LA Huey

    The Olympics survived having it’s men’s soccer tournament being downgraded, they’ll have no problem moving on if hoops left.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    I said unless an equally proper event was added, implying they wouldn’t lose ANY viewers. “None of Some” in other words. The context I’m using my comments in is perfectly appropriate and very easy to understand. As long as you actually take words at their meaning, and don’t add your own personal definitions.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Soccer (Football), Ping Pong, Cricket, Field Hockey, Tennis, Volleyball, and Golf are all more popular globally. But that doesn’t meant they all bring in more money.

  • Allenp

    It is not about the Olympics suffering it is about the NBA getting a cut.if it is paying the players. Olympics will be fine but starting a World Cup would be better for NBA.

  • lud

    The NBA wants to setup a World Cup for basketball that they can get tangible profits from. Right now the Olympics only give them exposure, the I.O.C. keeps all the profits for themselves.

  • BigA

    I didn’t read anything. Carmelo Anthony scored an alltime US gamehigh 37 pts in 14 minutes.
    14 minutes, 10 threes.

  • BigA
  • pposse

    a world cup of basketball will never be as prestigious as winning gold in the olympics. 2,000 years down the line all Olympic records will still be there to reflect back on, not so much a world cup of basketball (i doubt). BIG PICTURE fellas!

  • pposse

    saw carmello splash like 5 threes in a row to get that record, he went off!

  • http://mozillafirefox Kay Louis

    Let’s put an age and or time limit on Stern. He is an egotistical jerk.

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