Was Kobe Bryant Right To Call One Of NBA Commissioner David Stern’s Ideas “Stupid” Recently?
When it comes to basketball, the rest of the world has caught up to the United States. We might still have an edge over other countries in some sports—and you guys better hope football never becomes an Olympic sport!—but, after seeing LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and the rest of Team USA struggle against the Brazil team in a pre-Olympic exhibition game earlier this week, it’s pretty clear that we’re not going to be on top forever. And, if NBA Commissioner David Stern has his way, we might not even be on top four years from now.
Stern has an idea. He wants to limit the Team USA Olympic team to those players who are 23 years old and under in the future. That means that guys like James, Durant, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams would not be allowed to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London would be the last time you’d see most of the NBA’s big names in Olympic action. The thought is that using that approach wouldn’t make NBA players and NBA owners feel like superstars had to play in the Olympics. It’d also mean that Team USA could get a firmer commitment from young guys who are hungry to play in the Olympic Games. It seems like a pretty good idea, right?
Er, wrong. Especially if you ask Kobe Bryant. Earlier this week, KB24 was asked about Stern’s proposal—and he didn’t pull any punches when he responded to the idea.
“It’s a stupid idea,” he said. “It should be a player’s choice…Basically, it’s just a dumb idea.”
Stern does have a point. But, so does Kobe. And, Kobe’s might be worth more than Stern’s. You see, if guys like Kobe—who no one would blame for skipping out on the Olympics right now at his age—are intent on competing, then why not let them? Further, why discourage them from competing and risk having Team USA struggle in future Olympic Games? We all remember what happened back in 2004, right? That team didn’t win a gold medal at least in part because Team USA couldn’t get some key commitments from guys. The 2008 Games marked the return of the “real” Team USA, complete with all of the NBA superstars. And, even with them, the gold medal game against Spain was still a struggle at times.
So, with that in mind, Stern’s idea is pretty stupid. If he limits Olympic participation to 23 and under, it’ll hurt the U.S. chances of winning gold in future Olympics. It’ll hurt the perception of the NBA. And, most importantly, it’ll hurt the game of basketball. If guys like Kobe want to play, why not let them? It couldn’t hurt, right?