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If NBA cancels season, should NBA players boycott Olympics?

Oct 17, 2011, 5:14 PM EDT

Olympics+Day+16+Basketball+-lnrt0GUlGQl Getty Images

Technically, USA basketball and the NBA are separate entities making separate decisions. Yet the two are so intertwined with sharing players and David Stern’s globalization of the game efforts — not to mention Nike’s influence — that it’s hard to tell them apart.

Which had Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com suggesting that the players should use the Olympic Games as a bargaining chip at the labor talks table.

Simply put, NBA players should make it clear that if the owners cancel the 2011-12 NBA season then they will not play in next summer’s Olympic games. In theory, the NBA has little to do with the Olympics; instead that’s USA Basketball’s domain.

But the NBA and Team USA work together closely, and it’s a relationship the players are obviously aware of. Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo is the director of USA basketball, and NBA coaches usually make up a portion of the staff.

It’s an interesting idea. It’s also not going to happen.

The reason is the players — especially the elite players making the Olympic team — are brands. Brands that sell shoes and other things that bring in international endorsement deals. Those brands need to be in the Olympics. They need that stage.

Plus, after the public relations hit the players took after a missed season, doing something that would be called unpatriotic on top of it, would be a disaster.

Bottom line, the guys calling for a hard line nowKobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest — would not sacrifice the Olympics and what it means to their pocket books to help the cause.

From a pure labor negotiations tactic, the players threatening the Olympics is a smart one. It’s a nice bit of leverage. But they wouldn’t cut off their nose to spite their face like that.

  1. bakatadi - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I fail to see what the Olympics and the NBA lockout have in common. Owners don’t even want the players in the Olympics. Ever heard of Mark Cuban? He wants insurance for Dirk. Most owners don’t want their multimillion dollar investments getting hurt.
    If nothing else, the Olympics would be a center stage for the players agenda, a place where David Stern has no say, no place, no power.

  2. jgib23 - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Full retard, you never go full retard!

    As if public perception wasn’t already in the owners favor, how much more hollow could the players make themselves look? #letusplayexceptfor-forourcountry

    • leearmon - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      I have to respectfully disagree. First, I believe the majority of public sentiment is behind the players. I believe most intelligent sports fans understand that the owners are looking for a safety net from themselves, and really haven’t had to compromise from anything that they actually had in the last CBA ie, they are giving back demands they set at the beginning of negotiations, but those demands were not in principal in the last CBA. Also the NBA is just like any other sports league, the better you draft, the better you will be. I laugh when I hear the “small markets cant compete against the larger markets” argument. The NBA is represented by 4 teams in the largest two markets in the country. New York (Knicks & Nets) Los Angeles (Lakers & Clippers). Of those 4 teams, only the Lakers have had any type of sustained success over the past decade. Where’s the outcry for those other 3 Larger markets??? The Bulls, they were stuck in NBA purgatory after Jordan retired, until they started to draft well. First Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, then Joakim Noah & of course Derrick Rose. The only big Free Agent signing they had was a bad one, Carlos Boozer. If Chicago can do it through the draft how come other small markets cant? Whoops, they do it too. See Oklahoma City, Portland, Orlando, San Antonio, Indiana etc. I wish someone would argue that point to me. No matter where your city is, if you cannot draft it doesnt matter. Im a Knick fan, free agents NEVER signed in New York for the past 10 years, partly because of our cap situation, and also because we didnt have talent, and both of those issues point right a the front office. Period. So if that logic applies to the top market in the U.S.A. why is it hard to believe it wouldnt apply in market #77?

      • hystoracle - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:07 PM

        I believe the majority of public sentiment doesn’t give a crap who’s fault it is or if there is even an NBA season.. The”majority of public sentiment” is too busy watching the NFL and MLB. And the NFL isn’t going to end until February. Right about the time College basketball becomes interesting again to the “majority of public sentiment”. A missed season will crush the NBA.. NO one barely notices it is even missing.

      • leearmon - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        Sorry hystoracle, your facts couldn’t be more wrong. As someone who works for nielsen and contributes to sportsmediawatch.com, MLB;s numbers are worse than that of the NBA’s and have been for quite awhile, so your assesment that “public sentiment is too busy watching …MLB..” couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, football has always dominated all professional sports, and will continue for sometime, so that point is moot. Finally, the fact that this site continues to make articles about the lockout and the progress (or lack thereof) of a new CBA agreement speaks that people DO care about the fact that there isn’t a season, and due to the fact that you have posted a response to said league, seems to point that you care aswell.

  3. goforthanddie - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    It should go the other way-if there’s no agreement, no players will be allowed to compete.
    Even better-only allow those who were on the team that earned the Olympic spot. The big names couldn’t be bothered to help us qualify, why should they get the glory?

  4. vikesfansteve - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    The sport will not be missed. Plain & simple.

  5. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Yes, please.

  6. etoharin78 - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    “From a pure labor negotiations tactic, the players threatening the Olympics is a smart one.” That may be the dumbest thing I have ever read. Go ahead players do it and see where it gets you.

  7. savocabol1 - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Wow. Greed really motivates all. Not enough to just want to play for your country? Wow.

  8. bobdira - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    Who cares?

  9. skids003 - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    You mean they aren’t playing for their country.? A country that allows them to make millions playing a game? I would have thought they were playing to be patriotic, not to enhance their brand and make more money(sarcasm).

  10. shoyaryt - Oct 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Instead of the NBA players boycotting the Olympics, I believe we, the consumers, should boycott the NBA once the league reaches an agreement. I think a full year of bypassing NBA ticketed games; NBA television packages; NBA merchandise; NBA video games… would bring these owners back to reality.

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