SBD/July 23, 2012/Olympics

Colangelo Says Basketball Will Shift Global Showcase To World Cup-Style Format

Colangelo said the decision on a World Cup model was primarily financial
USA Basketball Chair Jerry Colangelo acknowledged that the "wheels were in motion for a 'sea change' to shift basketball's showcase global event from the Olympic stage to a World Cup format patterned after the enormously popular world soccer tournament, but cautioned there were speed bumps ahead," according to Larry Fine of REUTERS. Colangelo said, "I understand some of the logic relative to the consideration of change. But I also am a realist that it takes many parties to come to the table and agree internationally, let alone within your own country. Those kind of decisions usually take time." He added that the issues "were not tied to competitive balance or concerns over the stress on NBA players after a long pro season." Colangelo: "I think it's primarily financial. I think the soccer model of FIFA and the World Cup has been so successful and has generated enormous revenues that it's something to at least look at. ... If there's going to be some age limit on the Olympics, how many exceptions and what's the age? Is it 23 or 25-and-unders? And what about the players? Many of our players have been outspoken, they think it should be the players' decision. They've loved the (Olympic) experiences. You can't make that kind of a decision in a vacuum. You have to weigh all of the people involved in this process" (REUTERS, 7/22). In Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote Lakers G Kobe Bryant is "right" in referring to NBA Commissioner David Stern's "proposal to limit the NBA players in the 2016 Olympics to those 23 and under [as] 'stupid.'" If Stern "got his way, the US Olympic team would go from a virtual who’s who to just who." Gasper: "It’s not about jingoism, but capitalism." Stern's age limit "would apply only to the Olympics because the NBA can’t make a lot of money off the Lords of the Rings" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/21). In Orlando, Brian Schmitz wrote, "Why kill the passion of patriotism that stars such as Kobe and others have displayed for the Olympics? We often grouse about the money and motivation of NBA stars, but the Olympics has brought out the best in them. Don't lock them out -- at any age" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 7/21).
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