FIBA's Mainini Confident Partnership With NBA To Remain Unchanged With New Boss
Int'l Basketball Federation (FIBA) President Yvan Mainini said that the relationship between the sport's governing body and the NBA will not change after the reign of NBA Commissioner David Stern comes to an end on Feb. 1, and current NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver takes over. Mainini told SBD Global, "We have been fortunate to live an amazing era of growth under the leadership of former FIBA Secretary General (and current FIBA Secretary General Emeritus) Borislav Stankovic and David Stern. That period is now coming to an end, and we look forward to working with the next NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, in the same spirit." Mainini added, "We have already had very positive and constructive discussions with him, and we are all in full agreement that the potential for growth of basketball worldwide is still extremely big. We can measure up to football if we work well together." (Read the full Q&A with FIBA President Yvan Mainini) However, the relationship between FIBA and the NBA has not always been that harmonious. NBA owners in general have been reluctant to let their star players participate at world championships or FIBA's continental tournaments due to the risk of injuries. So it should not have come as a surprise when NBA Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in October proposed the NBA should do its own World Cup-style tournament. 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." The result would be a greater share of revenue for the NBA and its owners. Asked about Cuban's proposal for an NBA-organized World Cup, Mainini said, "Mark Cuban, of all people, has hugely benefited from having international players on his Dallas Mavericks team. They won the NBA Championship in 2011 with a roster that included German superstar Dirk Nowitzki, former U.S. guard Jason Kidd and big man Tyson Chandler as well as Puerto Rico’s J.J. Barea and Serbia’s Peja Stojakovic." He added, "FIBA is in regular contact with the NBA, and we work closely together to ensure that we can have the best FIBA Basketball World Cup possible while also doing everything possible so that the very best players from around the world can shine in the best league and that the clubs’ interests are protected. We have regular discussions with them about the new calendar that will come into effect in 2017."