The international cup competitions and Olympics have come under fire recently in the wake of Paul George‘s injury during a scrimmage for Team USA. Now reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant has withdrawn from the team with speculation of a new contract in the works with Under Armour. Many of the league’s top stars have already withdrawn from the opportunity to represent the United States. These athletes are making the wrong decision.
Have you ever heard of a player missing the FIFA World Cup because they were ‘tired’ or afraid of risking an injury? Have you seen athletes back out of the Olympics because it is risky? NBA players should take international play more seriously. It exposes the game to more and more people, and it helps players expand their own brand across the world as well.
International competitions have long been a part of American pride. The euphoria of winning against the greatest players from around the world creates inspiration and awe in the eyes of the fans. Athletes get injured every day from numerous circumstances. It’s simply part of playing the game. George was very proud to be representing the USA and boasted his efforts for the team. He even displayed his exuberance so strongly as if he was saying “I’m here and doing a service, other guys should be as well.”
Basketball really took off in the 90s due in part to USA Basketball’s domination internationally. More viewers around the world were seeing this exciting game, and it was able to reach further out to countries that may have never seen basketball at all. Now there are more international players in the NBA than ever before. International play also allows players to expand there abilities, for they are pushed to the brink against the greatest competition in the world. Much knowledge can be acquired by playing against the best, and we’ve seen the exponential growth of Team USA participants over the years take their game to new heights.
International competitions require that players be unselfish, play for their country, their teammates and their fans. Prove to the world that you are one of the best to play the game and not just a guy who can put up 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. Be something more illustrious than that. Inspire a nation and lead your team to victory in honor of the greatest nation in the world, the United States of America.