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Is the World Cup of Basketball Coming Soon?

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bill-swift - June 25, 2012

There have been rumors and grumblings about the NBA's involvement in the Olympics for some time. However, if recent rumors pan out there may be nothing to grumble about following the 2012 Games in London. This will likely be the last time the NBA sends its superstars to play in the competition.

The reason is two-fold, but revolves around one thing—money.

When the NBA started sending its stars into the NBA way back in 1992 it was a novel idea. As the idea began to lose its appeal many of the NBA's stars the teams being fielded were not always the best. A lot of the stars did not see any reason to risk injury when all they got out of it was a medal (especially if they already had one).

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has been saying for some time that allowing the league's players to go play for their national teams is a mistake. The league and the product it produces is dependent on the players. Should any of them be lost to an injury during Olympic competition the NBA—who actually pays them—suffers.

If the product suffers so does the bank account.

Rather than miss out on a golden opportunity with the number of international players now in the NBA, the league is looking into another option, the creation of the World Cup of Basketball. While it could team up with FIBA in order to organize and run it, Mark Cuban is pushing Stern to have the league run it instead. Why share the wealth with anyone else if they don't need to?

Instead of leaving the U.S. national basketball team high and dry there is another option that is gaining steam, restricting the members to players 23 and under. That way the thrill of playing for one's country is still strong and the younger bodies can handle the extra wear and tear a lot better.

An under 23 team may not be as heavily favored to win, but it would still leave the U.S. with a team to be reckoned with.

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