Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is huffing and puffing saying high-end (and highly paid) NBA players should not be playing internationally–especially since his star, Dirk Nowitzki won’t be in the starting lineup because he’s nursing an injury after playing for Germany.
Cuban thinks players shouldn’t be suiting up for international games in the off-season because of the risk the NBA owners have to assume. He also says that most of the NBA owners agree with him, but they’re just not as vocal about their sentiments.
In an interview with ESPN Cuban said,
“It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations” — as Cuban calls the Olympics — “can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumb-asses, we’re taking all their best guys for nothing.’ “
That being said, Mark Cuban understands the devotion some athletes have to their country and that playing in the Olympics is a way to express that. Cuban just feels that after a certain age, it becomes a high-risk endeavor that ends up costing the NBA team.
“I understand from Dirk’s perspective,” Cuban said. “We should never put our athletes in that position. For some sports the Olympics are very, very important. For basketball, it’s meaningless. It’s not that they’re not decent games. All things being equal, it’s fun to watch us play Argentina and Spain, but it would be just as fun if they were 21 and under.”
Mark Cuban may have a point.
He’s paying Nowitzki over $19 million a year to play–play being the operative word. Nowitzki is very durable and well trained athlete, but at 33 years old, the physical toll on the body will take affect.
“Playing in the Euros, looking back now was obviously not the right decision, but, it was a decision I made for my country,” Nowitzki said. “But it definitely didn’t help me get ready for the season.”
With the delay of the season and the demanding 2011-2012 NBA schedule, Dirk hasn’t had time to train effectively and it’s costing the Mavericks.
For the owner of last year’s championship team, this just won’t do.