FIBA Not A Proponent Of Age Limit For Olympic Basketball Players
USA Basketball can limit its team to players under the age of 23, as NBA Commissioner David Stern recently proposed, but do not expect the rest of the world to follow suit any time soon. FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann said that he will meet with Stern about the idea to get more details before bringing it to FIBA’s 200-plus members for approval. “When, whether, what age -- I’m not sure they have a clear mind on that,” Baumann said. “USA Basketball may make up its own mind about whether they want to come with youngsters here. That could be their choice. There is going to be a lot of debate. ... Every idea is welcome.” The 23-year-old age limit that Stern proposed has become the most-discussed, off-court issue during the Olympics. Baumann said that creating an age limit would hurt countries like Nigeria, which is still developing the game. He added that FIBA would not make a decision on the subject any time soon. The subject likely will become one of several issues the NBA and FIBA work through in the coming years. Baumann said FIBA is unhappy with the lack of int'l basketball exhibitions and qualifiers that are played each year. He would prefer a similar system to soccer, which sets aside a few weekends of every year for players to leave their professional clubs and play in national team games. “I don’t think there have been official games of USA Basketball in the United States qualifying for somewhere,” said Baumann, who is from Switzerland and also is a member of the IOC. “I don’t remember since 1993, the German fans haven’t seen the German national team playing in Germany. Our members have an issue with that” (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).