Commissioner Adam Silver said he does expect significant changes in the NBA’s participation in international competition after Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George broke his right leg while helping Team USA prepare for the FIBA World Cup.
George was injured Friday night in Las Vegas during the U.S. team’s intrasquad scrimmage. The World Cup is later this month. George is expected to be sidelined for a year.
“Without a doubt, basketball has grown tremendously since 1992, when NBA players began playing in the Olympics,” Silver said in a statement to ESPN. “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.”
George’s injury is the most serious one in the history of USA Basketball. The injury prompted Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a longtime critic of the International Olympic Committee, to blast the organization as only interested in making money off the NBA.
“The IOC is playing the NBA,” Cuban told ESPN.com on Saturday. “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 (makes) 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.”