Categorized | News, Opinion

COMPARE: 10,000 meter run versus men’s basketball! NBA blog ADMITS: It’s not about justice it’s about the MONEY! CONTRAST BOTSWANA – an entire nation awaits: Will Montsho WIN?

Wasn’t it exciting at the Olympics yesterday?

US wins a silver medal in the 10,000 meter yesterday – first time since we won gold in 1964!

US finally reaches the podium in fencing in the next to last day of competition – the women’s epee team wins bronze!

Several days ago, the women’s gymnastics team wins gold!  The “fab five” the commentators called them.

Sandy just happened to see the end of the 10,000 meters – it was exciting (Sandy the blogger did run cross-country and track in high school and was terrible!  But the long distance events are fascinating.  These men run more than six miles in about the time I can run maybe two!  Maybe!) and I was happy for the GB gold and that we won silver.  I invite the supporters of the Dream Team and pro athletes to watch the 1964 finish (or the 2012 one) and tell me this is not better.  I believe if you give people excitement they’ll watch the games.  We do not need pro athletes.

At the NBA blog, this writer suggests that the NBA players should forcibly reject the proposal by NBA Commissioner David Stern to restrict the basketball in the Olympics to players 23 years of age or younger.  In the process, the blogger actually admits this has nothing to do with what’s right but about the money:

The most incredible part of the debate about the NBA’s desire to run its superstars out of the Olympics is simple: The players can stop it. They’re left to believe that they’re without voices on the matter, that they’re at the mercy of the commissioner, owners and FIBA conspiring to redirect all those Olympic revenues and control into the rebranded world championships.

What?  The NBA players have no voice?  Of course they do – the writer is right.  But what is the right thing to do?

Unless the players unite, make a stand and stop the NBA’s imperialistic designs, they’re going to get trampled the way they always do. That’s an indisputable fact. As much as any sport, NBA stars drive everything: The TV ratings, sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandizing; everything. It’s true in the United States, and far more true overseas where the inclusion of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James – and the next generation – has the power to turn a niche international basketball tournament into a global happening.

Interesting use of the word “imperialistic” for the use of the pro athletes in the Olympics is sports imperialism.  The NBA players ought to stop it.  So should the owners.  But they are also concerned about the almighty dollar:

Why the owners want to push FIBA to turn the Olympics into an irrelevant under-23 tournament and ship the stars over to a different two-year cycle in the world championships is understandable, but short-sighted. The World Cup of Basketball won’t come close to matching soccer, because nationalistic allegiances are far, far more fervent to soccer teams. The Olympics frame NBA stars as global icons in a way nothing else could, but most NBA owners don’t think that benefits them in such a tangible way and want a clear revenue stream flowing through a partnership with FIBA.

Some want even more. “The question is: Why would we partner with a current tournament rather than start our own?” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Yahoo! Sports in June. “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.”

It was Cuban who described the NBA players playing in the Olympics as “stupid”!

“It’s the biggest mistake the NBA makes,’’ he said. “If you look up stupid in the dictionary, you see a picture of the USA Dream Team playing for free for corporate America so the U.S. Olympic Committee can make millions of dollars

Actually Cuban is right, in a wrong way.  It would be stupid for the owners to risk a career-ending injury to play in the Olympics and get nothing for it.  But that is not why people work hard and give up life to be in the Olympics.  Believe it or not, the Olympics once had a higher end than filling the coffers of the IOC, its sponsors and NBC.

Even the original Dream Team was agreed to so the NBA could find players in other countries:

Look, that Dream Team was a patriotic moment. But it also was a corporate one, with the NBA drooling over the prospects of all the potential licensing deals, and maybe even future teams, overseas.

When Cuban asked what the NBA got out of the original Dream Team, I nodded behind him, at Dirk Nowitzki. That team led to worldwide growth in the game.

So the NBA owner is for the 23 and under?  Yes, but…

“No,’’ Cuban said. “I think it should be 21 (-year-olds) and under, 22-and-under. That’s it. I can’t think of anything more ridiculous and stupid than giving away the best assets from a for-profit business to somebody else to make hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.

Why don’t everybody do the right thing instead.  Use amateur athletes for the Olympics, the best pros for the World Cup of Basketball.  I’ll root for that USA team.  And the new all-amateur Olympic team.

This will allow the Olympics to be a pinnacle of a sports career and for those good or blessed enough to be a pro, the World Cup of BB will be a new pinnacle.  Serena Williams can still go to Wimbledon, the US Open, etc., and I’ll root for her there.  It also stops the sports imperialism as well as disrespect for other nations.  The 23 and under Olympics can still be profitable – if marketed properly.

Suppose the women’s team was the starting five of the 40-0 Baylor Bears and seven other top college stars, chosen in a try out.  Coach Pat Summitt could be the head coach.  Wouldn’t you watch?  On the men’s side, have a coach like Coach K at Duke with a young coach like Butler’s Brad Stevens as an assistant.  Up and coming tennis and soccer players who surely have a great story of overcoming obstacles and playing at the highest level.  NBC, can’t you, as Michael Callahan wisely said, have Bob Costas conduct that coverage with music from Yanni?

Check out the 10,000 meters yesterday and the video from 1964 and ask me:  What’s better?  The ordinary person with extraordinary talent and ability going up against the best of the rest of the world.  Or the sports imperialism inherent in a 156 point game.  The gymnasts from the USA.  Or Serena Williams winning yet another tournament.  The question answers itself.

Commissioner Stern, I do not like the 23 and under BB in the Olympics.  But I’ll live with it.  But do it for the right reasons.  Until then, its sports imperialism and injustice to the smaller and poorer nations.  That is not the Olympic spirit.  In an hour or so, we’ll see Amantle Montsho go for Botswana’s first Olympic medal.  Imagine, I implore the sports imperialists, what all of Botswana is doing right now:  Getting ready for dinner and to watch or listen to the 400 meters.  Will she win or get a medal?  Or will there be another Olympics with grim results.  We’ll find out in an hour.  My Botswana flag is ready!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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