Paul George’s recent severe injury has led several NBA executives to question whether the league should allow players to participate in international sporting events such as FIBA, World Cup, and the Olympics. It is quite rare that the NBA players get injured during the international competition, however last Friday’s gruesome showing has raised concerns.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told media reporters that he is aware that George’s leg injury would lead to the big topic coming to the forefront at the NBA Competition meeting in September and Board of Governors meeting in October. Both meetings will feature discussions with NBA executives regarding the benefits and risks of NBA players’ participation in international competition.
There is no secret that the owners and executives are quite fretful regarding their players’ risk of participating in international competition. Although Pacers president Larry Bird supports the idea of players participating in international competition, George’s leg injury concerns Bird as he is losing perhaps his best player with a guaranteed contract for the entire 2014-2015 season.
“We still support USA Basketball and believe in the NBA’s goals of exposing our game, our teams and players worldwide. This is an extremely unfortunate injury that occurred on a highly-visible stage, but could also have occurred anytime, anywhere,” Bird said.
The owners may not want the players to participate in international competition, however players often have the choice to do as they wish. As a result, executives experience a hard time holding players from participating in international competition.
“The owners are the ones taking all the risk. The players have no risk, so that’s why they play. If you told players you’d have to eat their contract [if they got injured], you wouldn’t have one guy playing,” Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner, said.
Cuban who is well-known as an outspoken individual, has constantly criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for allowing NBA players to participate in international competition without obtaining financial benefit while the IOC obtains enormous financial revenue.
“The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money,” Cuban said in 2012.
Other than injury issues, Cuban dislikes the fact that the IOC is obtaining revenue from athletes’ participation in the international events. He told multiple media reporters that he emboldens the NBA players and owners to create a World Cup of Basketball in order to obtain generate revenue.
Silver acknowledges that NBA players’ participation in the international competition has a great positive influence on the NBA into becoming a global name. It seems evident that it is difficult for players to evade participating in international competition to play against the countries.
“Our goal is to make basketball the number one sport in the world,” Silver said. “Basketball is a sport of choice internationally because of the ease of participation, its universality and the fact that it’s been an Olympic sport for nearly 80 years.”
[Photo Credit: SB Nation]