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USA Basketball’s Colangelo lobbying owners against Olympic age limit

Aug 2, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Olympics Day 4 - Basketball Getty Images

In the end, the debate about installing a 23-and-under age limit for the Olympics is about money. It will get framed other ways, but it’s always about money. NBA owners don’t want “their” players wearing themselves down and risking injury in a summer tournament — unless they are getting a piece of the profits, of course.

With David Stern as their front man, the owners will push for it in the coming years. But former NBA owner and current USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo opposes the idea.

He told KTAR of Phoenix he is talking to owners about it (via SLAM).

Ultimately, the decision isn’t Colangelo’s. But he is lobbying owners not to impose the rule. He said players want to decide whether or not to play for the Olympic team.

“They love it,” Colangelo said. “I mean, it’s pretty hard to argue with something as simple as supporting the flag and representing your country.”

What the NBA owners want to see is something more like the soccer model, where the World Cup is the big stage and Olympics is an under-23 event (with each team getting three players over that age limit). What the owners really want is a partnership with FIBA so that they would get a piece of this World Cup of basketball. (Mark Cuban wants the NBA to just start its own international event.)

For all their other reasoning, this is about money for the owners. Henry Abbott breaks it down well at TrueHoop.

The players, if they choose, can control this discussion. Because if they don’t show up for this World Cup it will flop. The elite players are the commodity and if they unify on wanting to go to the Olympics and not another event, they will get their way.

And in their ear the entire time will be Nike and Adidas — the Olympics are a huge marketing platform for these companies and they want their hoops stars on that stage.

It’s going to be a topic for the next few years. Now we know where Colagelo stands.

  1. shockexchange - Aug 2, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    This proposal will only give players 23 – and- under an outsized amount of power. The Olympic team is currently an exclusive club, and young players are begging to play. Stern’s proposal is all good until the USA loses or a key player decides not to play. It would make us beholden to a limited pool of young players. Using Dwight Howard as an example, you already know how that’s going to turn out.

  2. thestudiokida - Aug 2, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Apparently they already limit soccer clubs to 23yo and under.. so consider this. Soccer is the most popular world sport, by far. Countries stampede and kill each other over soccer matches… famous & infamous players are threatened and killed. Isn’t the Summer Olympics the perfect opportunity for some of that ire to rear its ugly head?

    It doesn’t. Nobody cares. Not only are the Olympic soccer matches not televised but NBC’s official Olympic website doesn’t even list soccer on it’s schedule. You have to visit a separate site to find any soccer info. The under-23 age limit has killed Olympic soccer and it will do the same to basketball. Nobody will care and nobody will watch. I rather enjoy Team USA basketball so I dread the day this rule is imposed.

  3. herlies - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Umm, why enforce an age limit?

    These guys LOVE BEING THERE. Every one of those players are in London by choice.

    They are treated like kings, enhance their own brands, love representing USA, receive world-class treatment and enjoy beating the tar out of the other teams.

    Leave it alone.

  4. bobthis - Aug 4, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    If the 23 and under rule goes into effect the eastern block European countries will find a way to cheat just like they did for years with their gymnastic teams. We know that David Stern like ALL commissioners is a bagman for the owners. The fact that he wants a share of the profits from the IOC is disgusting even for him. The Olympics is the last refuge for competing for country and glory without profit. Leave it as is.

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