It appears NBA teams are divided on what to do about the league’s players suiting up for the FIBA World Cup after what happened to Indiana Pacers’ Paul George. The small forward suffered a compound fracture of both his right tibia and fibula during a Team USA scrimmage. The gruesome injury has set off a storm of heated debates in regards to the International Olympic Committee and the NBA.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one person in particular who is not a fan of how the IOC is making billions of dollars off the NBA players while the league sees nothing in return. More specifically, if one of Cuban’s players gets hurt in international competition he is stuck with the bill instead of the IOC. For a savvy businessman like Cuban, along with other NBA owners, this simply does not make any sense.
“The [International Olympic Committee] is playing the NBA,” Cuban told ESPN. “The IOC is an organization that has been rife with corruption, to the point where a member was accused of trying to fix an Olympic event in Salt Lake. The IOC [pulls in] billions of dollars. They make a killing and make Tony Soprano look like a saint.
“The pros in multiple sports are smart enough to not play when they are eligible free agents. But teams take on huge financial risk so that the IOC committee members can line their pockets.
“The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money. The players and owners should get together and create our own World Cup of Basketball.”
Cuban is correct that corruption is a major concern and the Olympics are far from being about national pride these days. Everyone, aside from the players, is in it to make money. When NBA owners do not directly see an income from a competition that is using their players it is going to make them very irritated.
On the other hand, there are teams that have voiced their support for the FIBA World Cup.
“We still support USA Basketball and believe in the NBA’s goals of exposing our game, our teams and players worldwide,” Pacers president Larry Bird said, according to CBS Sports. “This is an extremely unfortunate injury that occurred on a highly-visible stage, but could also have occurred anytime, anywhere”
Horrific injuries happen all of the time in sports. It is what makes the debate on this topic so difficult. George could have just as easily broken his leg in a NBA game, and if he did, we would not be having this conversation. However, Cuban is taking the opportunity to raise the concern of how the IOC is essentially taking advantage of the NBA, which is something he has every right to do.