Adam Silver: No 'major shift' in NBA international participation after Paul George's injury
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday he doesn't foresee a "major shift" in the NBA's participation in international competitions, two days after the horrifying injury to Indiana Pacers star Paul George.
But Silver said in a statement to ESPN.com's Marc Stein that it could reopen discussion on the topic during fall NBA meetings.
"Without a doubt, basketball has grown tremendously since 1992, when NBA players began playing in the Olympics," Silver told ESPN.com. "Also, it's important to note the [improvement] many of our players have made in terms of ability, leadership and passion for the game by playing for their home countries. Injuries can happen any place at any time. The experiences our players have enjoyed by participating in their national teams, however, are ones that are unique and special in almost every other way. At this point, I don't anticipate a major shift in the NBA's participation in international competitions.
"It seems clear, however, that this will be a topic at our next NBA competition committee meeting in September and our board of governors meeting in October. And, of course, we will continue to evaluate the pros and cons of participating in international tournaments."
Most projections put George out of basketball action for at least one year after his gruesome injury Friday night during a Team USA scrimmage, when he suffered a fracture of both the tibia and fibula. His injury has reignited criticism of the NBA's participation in international events from frequent prominent critics, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Here's what Cuban told ESPN.com on Saturday:
"The [International Olympic Committee] is playing the NBA. 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.
Cuban went on to suggest that the NBA could take the lead in organizing a quadrennial "World Cup of Basketball" independent of the IOC.
"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 said.