Blatt Challenges NBA's Push To Make Olympics Under-23
David Stern and FIBA are attempting to create a World Cup of Basketball that would make the Olympics an Under-23 tournament.
Several of the NBA's most prominent players have already spoken out against the idea.
David Blatt, currently the head coach of Russia, is also upset by the development.
“I would hope that the countries would be in an uproar about this,” Blatt told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. “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.”
Team USA began to send professional players in 1992.
“I find it a little bit contradictory that the NBA had made such a push to involve their greatest players in the Olympic movement -- and the world basketball movement -- and now when it no longer serves the interest of the teams suddenly it’s not a good idea,” Blatt said. “So what does that mean? That the last 20 years were wrong?
“Twenty years ago, the NBA was in the same situation with its players playing in the Olympics --- all the big contracts, the risk of injuries. It’s all the same now. But that wasn’t an issue then? Why, because it was fabulously popular and amazingly well-serving of the economics of the game. And now it’s a bad idea? I don’t get it.”
Kestutis Kemzura also is against the idea of abandoning the Olympics as the top national team event for basketball.
“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?”