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

by August 08, 2012

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?'”