the NBA is in discussions to create “The World Cup of Basketball” in partnership with FIBA, while changing the rules for Olympic basketball so that only players under 23 can compete, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
NBA commissioner David Stern has been hinting that this summer’s London Games could be the last time the league sends its best players to the Olympics. He’s also mentioned replicating soccer’s model of holding a World Cup in non-Olympic years and sending only younger players to the Olympics. the World Cup of Basketball, according to Wojnarowski, would essentially be a rebranding of the world basketball championships.
Money is the motivating factor for the new venture. Wojnarowski writes, “For the use of its most marketable players, the league office and many NBA owners are determined to create a financial partnership with FIBA for a World Cup that would allow the NBA to significantly share in the windfall of revenues.”
“The owners would be a lot more comfortable letting star players play internationally if they’re sharing in the revenue,” an NBA source told Yahoo.
Mavericks owner mark Cuban has long railed against the NBA allowing its players to compete in the Olympics with no compensation in return from the International Olympics Committee.
“It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said in February. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumbasses, we’re taking their best guys for nothing.’”
but an NBA/FIBA co-ventured World Cup won’t go far enough for Cuban’s tastes. He wants the NBA to own, operate and profit from an international tournament.
“The question is: why would we partner with a current tournament rather than start our own?” Cuban told Yahoo. “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.
“I don’t know what the NBA plan is, but the above is what I will be pushing for.”