Originally posted on borisdiawtime.blogspot.com  |  Last updated 8/16/12

Yesterday, I wrote at length about what the 2016 U.S. Olympic basketball team could look like. With many of our top players still on the young side of 30, the next version of USA basketball should once again shape up as the dominant figure in international hoops. Lebron, Durant, Chris Paul…yeah, that’s a third straight gold medal right there. 

There is one small fly in the ointment, however. Those players may not be allowed to participate in the Olympics four years from now.

For varying reasons (publicity, less international competition for NBA stars, etc.), FIBA is pushing for a ‘World Cup of basketball’ type of event every four years. Ostensibly, this would be the FIBA World Championships on crack. That’s good and all that they want to have a huge, headline grabbing event – the problem is that they already have one. The Olympics. Therefore, for their plan to work, Olympic basketball must go the route of soccer. Pushed in large part by David Stern and a few vocal NBA owners, Olympic basketball may soon have a 23 and under age limit. This would separate the two events and force the main spotlight on the newly created ‘World Cup of Basketball.’ 

To be quite honest, I hate the idea. Hate it, hate it, hate it. The idea that playing internationally over the summer is somehow bad for these guys is ludicrous. As Kobe Bryant accurately pointed out prior to the Olympics, all these guys are going to be playing a ton of ball anyways. What could be better than playing in a controlled, organized setting against top competition and with plenty of medical staff around? 

Nevertheless, this age limit looks to be a fait accompli. Fortunately, it appears as if the 2016 Games will be safe, allowing us one last opportunity to watch a true U.S. Olympic team in action.
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