DALLAS, Texas — The participation of NBA players in the Olympics has boosted the league’s brand overseas, benefitting club owners as well as returning America to dominance on the international stage, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Monday.
Colangelo, speaking at the US Olympic Committee’s pre-London Olympic summit, countered remarks by outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who complained the NBA is “stupid” to allow its players to compete in the Games and risk injury without clubs receiving compensation.
“The ownership has the right and the platform to express opinions,” said Colangelo, the architect of the current USA Basketball system that put together the gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“I would say that there is another side to the story. What we have done with our programme has brought great value to the NBA as a whole. As a good partner in the NBA, every owner should recognize that that added value has added something to their franchise.
“I think the best story the NBA had when we marched to the gold medal in Beijing was us,” he said. “And that’s worth a lot.”
Colangelo said he didn’t disagree with Cuban’s contention that players are valuable assets.
But he said Olympic participation only increases that value.
“The NBA gains by the success these players have on the international stage,” he said. “We are in a global economy. The NBA has been at the forefront of dealing with the global marketplace.
“The participation and sucess of the players has brought great opportunities for the players and the NBA in its marketing efforts around the globe.”
US Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski said the NBA and its players gain on court as well, citing Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, the league’s leading scorer this year whose team is now in the second round of the playoffs.
Kryzyzewski called Durant “the poster-child” for the USA Basketball programme that sets up a select team to train with and against the national team.
He noted that Durant made himself available for the select team, narrowly missed out on selection for the 2008 Olympic team, then was the leading scorer on America’s 2010 World Championship-winning team.