We already know that the NBA blog and presumedly the players do not like the proposed Stern 23 and under rule for Olympic Basketball.
And while it is not a complete victory, as William Wilberforce would say (he endorsed a neutral bill that had the tendency to eliminate 80% of the British slave trade), it is a substantial one. So, what are other nations saying? Well, Russia came out saying this:
“I would hope that the countries would be in an uproar about this,” Russia coach David Blatt told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday “Who is one country to determine for everyone how international basketball should be played, and particularly how the Olympic Games should be managed? It’s not supposed to be like that. If it’s a global game, it’s a global game.”
I agree! Except Russia was not complaining about the Dream Team but rather the Stern idea! Yes, Coach Blatt, it is a global game and that is exactly why the pro athletes need to be out! Alas, one of my favorite nations in all the world, brave Lithuania, who actually declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990(!) agrees with Russia (for probably the first time since 1990!):
Lithuania’s coach Kestutis Kemzura loves a global basketball climate where he could lose to Nigeria in June, watch them lose to Team USA by 83 points and still somehow come so, so close to beating the Americans. The world keeps getting smaller, Kemzura says the gap keeps closing and he wants Lithuania to keep taking its best shot at the United States’ superstars. He wants to beat the best, wants to beat the USA and wants it on the biggest stage in the world: the Olympics.
It is now apparent that the reason for Russia’s and Lithuania’s position is based on a desire to win under the present system. But it is a sellout of the smaller nations. It’s sports imperialism. I beseech especially Lithuania to change their position and champion what is right – just as they did in 1990!
Apparently nobody (except me and a few other brave souls) will stand for the right. So, I appeal to the nations who are being hurt and disrespected by the present system to stand for the right: No pros in the Olympic games! Maybe the first convert ought to be the Nigerian minister of sport!