Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 7/18/12

When Kobe Bryant caught wind that David Stern was tossing around the idea that members of team USA be age 23 or younger, he called the idea “stupid.”

Calm down, Mr. Bryant, this isn’t the worst idea the commissioner has proposed.

Kobe Bryant and David Stern don’t see eye to eye on a potential age restriction for Olympic basketball players. (Image credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images via About.com)

There isn’t much I agree with Commissioner Stern about, but this is an intriguing potential regulation.

Ever since the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team, the NBA has attempted to put together squads that would have a similar effect on the basketball world. The simple fact of the matter is, it can’t be done.

Even with this year’s star-laden 2012 Team USA ball club, the pure infatuation the rest of the world had for the Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and other members of the Dream Team will never be comparable.

Nor will their performance on the court.

Prior to 1992, the United States’ Olympic basketball team was reserved for amateur athletes, typically comprised of the NCAA’s top players. While the success on the court wasn’t always assured, providing college athletes with the opportunity to represent their country was always special.

Now that college basketball players decide to take their talents to the NBA at a much younger age, it wouldn’t be warranted to only allow college athletes with the opportunity to wear the red, white, and blue in the summer games.

Disregarding players over the age of 23 does allow for some sort amateurism, or at least something remotely resembling it.

True, star players like Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook are far from being “amateur” talents, but the age requirement would allow more players to get the opportunity to represent their country.

Assuming they are healthy, superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony will always get the call to play in the Olympic games, and deservedly so. After all, they are some of the best players in the world.

On the other side, it would be nice to see some fresh faces in the Olympics and give more players the chance to play on the world’s most historic sporting stage.

So, now I ask you:

Do you side with David Stern and believe their should be a 23-year or under restriction on potential Team USA players?

Or are you with Kobe and think this age requirement is “stupid”?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


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