Over the past few months, NBA Commissioner David Stern has indicated his desire to pull most superstar pro players out of the Olympics following this summer's games in London. The idea is that the Olympics will begin focusing on showcasing under-23 talent, while the biggest names in the NBA will begin participating in what has been known as the World Basketball Championship.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the proposed rebranding of the world championship into "The World Cup of Basketball" would allow the NBA to partner with FIBA and receive a share of the event's revenues. As it stands, the NBA does not see any money from the Olympics. Wojnarowski's sources indicate there is almost no chance that the league's top stars will be allowed to compete in the Olympics after 2012.
The change is likely mostly motivated by financial concerns, but some owners would prefer that The World Cup of Basketball be taken even further.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Yahoo! Sports he isn't aware of the NBA's specific intentions in possibly moving its star players to the rebranded World Cup, but says he has lobbied for much more complete control of the tournament. He sees no reason to partner with FIBA or anyone else. He wants the NBA to own, operate and profit on a global tournament using the league's stars.
"The question is: Why would we partner with a current tournament rather than start our own?" Cuban said. "If done correctly, it can be NBA-owned and operated and have the potential to be just as large as the World Cup of soccer. That is a product, in my opinion, we want to own, not share.
"I don't know what the NBA plan is, but the above is what I will be pushing for."
It remains to be seen what the final result will be, but it is looking like a virtual lock that this will be the last year you see household NBA stars representing the U.S. in the Olympics. Cheer for them while you can.
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