Mavs owner Mark Cuban has long criticized the inclusion of NBA players on Team USA Basketball.
Paul George’s potentially career-changing leg injury is a gruesome reminder why.
George, the Indiana Pacers’ All-Star, suffered an open fracture to both big bones in his lower leg when he landed awkwardly Friday night in a Team USA scrimmage.
“My thoughts go out to Paul,” Cuban told ESPN.com Saturday morning. “I really feel for him.”
But the injury serves as another soap box for Cuban to stand upon and reiterate his desire for the NBA to tweak its relationship with Team USA Basketball and sever its ties to FIBA. Cuban, in short, wants the NBA to organize their own quadrennial competition separate from the sport’s international governing body.
The basis of his stance: While George plays for free for Team USA and helps FIBA generate revenue, it’s the Pacers who will now feel the brunt of his injury.
“The International Olympic Committee is playing the NBA,” Cuban continued. “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.”
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There’s always something special and, yes, patriotic about watching NBA players wear the Team USA uniform. And the Mavs’ Dirk Nowitzki has never been deterred from playing for Germany.
But when you see Paul suffer that type of injury and the Pacers now left scrambling to fill his void in 2015, it’s hard not to see Cuban’s point making sense.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.