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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Parade Down Figueroa

    Kobe Calls David Stern's Age Restriction for the Olympics "stupid"

    MANCHESTER, England -- After saying in Las Vegas that he hopes NBA pros will continue to represent their countries in the Olympics, Kobe Bryant voiced his dismay with the 23-and-under concept floated by NBA commissioner David Stern in even stronger terms Tuesday when Team USA arrived in the United Kingdom ahead of London 2012.

    Speaking at an appearance at the town hall in Manchester not long after the Americans reached British soil via an overnight flight after Monday night's exhibition victory over Brazil in Washington, D.C., Bryant branded Stern's proposal to restrict the NBA's Olympic involvement to players aged 23 and younger as "stupid."

    "It's a stupid idea," Bryant told local reporters at the reception to welcome them to Manchester in advance of Thursday night's exhibition game here against Team Great Britain. "It should be a (player's) choice."

    Asked how much he and his Team USA teammates have talked about Stern's proposal since getting together in Vegas on July 5, Bryant said: "Our discussion is this: Basically, it's just a dumb idea and we (discuss) it that way. ... We just discuss it like that (and) kind of voice our opinions through you (media) guys."

    Bryant, subsequently, wasted no time getting comfortable with his new surroundings. Shortly after the town hall stop, Bryant and longtime personal skills guru Tim Grover were spotted strolling along the Deansgate strip of Manchester's city center in the company of a tour guide and a small security detail ... with Bryant decked out in full Team USA practice gear and stopping occasionally to snap pictures with excited fans who recognized him.

    His comments about the Olympic age debate expounded upon sentiments Bryant shared during Team USA's recent week-plus stay in Vegas, where he was openly dismissive of the injury concerns frequently raised by NBA owners such as Dallas' Mark Cuban.

    The Los Angeles Times quoted Bryant as saying, "I think that's the wrong way to look at things. If I'm an owner, I would want my player to play (internationally) because I understand that they're going to be playing anyway, going to be playing pickup basketball in the summertime, and I'm not going to be able to know where they are. They could be playing against a bunch of bums -- no, really -- guys that feel like they have something to prove and all of a sudden, a (star player) goes to the rim and a guy takes them out and now he's hurt.

    "Here you're playing against the best guys, you have treatment around the clock, your (NBA) coaching staff can always come sit in the stands and view practice. To me, playing on an Olympic basketball team is actually better if you're an owner."

    With Team USA poised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the original Dream Team that captivated the world and changed international basketball forever at the Summer Games in Barcelona, Stern announced at the NBA Finals that the league needed to "step back and take stock of where we're going" in terms of sending its best and, often, most highly paid players to the Olympics.

    The change Stern favors is switching to a system similar to that used in men's Olympic soccer -- which is a 23-and-under competition with three overage players allowed per country -- and allowing all NBA players to remain eligible for the quadrennial FIBA World Championship. That competition will be renamed the World Cup of Basketball in 2014 and, if eligibility changes also are made, theoretically sets up NBA owners to finally earn a share of revenues in return for allowing their top players to participate. At present, NBA teams get no revenue from the Olympic basketball tournament.

    It's thus conceivable this summer's London Games might be the last time that Team USA is comprised of America's best NBAers, but Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo is also resistant to the proposed changes.

    "I don't want to change anything because I like what we have," Colangelo told the Times earlier this month. "We take care of our players and I think we do the right things.

    "You need a lot of things to fall into place in order for all of this to happen. You need the cooperation and the votes and support of a lot of people. So when I hear something like this, I say it may happen. The real question is when. Is it '16, is it 2020? Don't know at this point. It's a long way from the finish line."

    Injuries have been the major storyline for Team USA for months, thanks to a succession of serious setbacks during the lockout-compacted regular season that knocked London finalists Dwight Howard (back), Dwyane Wade (knee), Chris Bosh (abdominal muscle), LaMarcus Aldridge (knee) and Chauncey Billups (torn Achilles') off the roster before coach Mike Krzyzewski could hold a single practice in Vegas. Team USA then lost Blake Griffin to a re-aggravated knee injury that this week required arthroscopic surgery.

    In Manchester, when asked if he understands the concerns of NBA owners, Bryant scoffed, saying such reservations are motivated by owners merely wanting "to protect their investments."

    Team USA guard Chris Paul also appeared at the town hall event, dismissed concerns about his recent thumb injury during training camp and said in support of Bryant: "I heard about this a while ago and I was thankful they haven't thought about (Stern's proposal) now, because if they were, I wouldn't be able to play now because I'm 27 years old. I personally would like for it to be your own decision, because playing in an Olympics -- this will be my second -- is the greatest experience of my life.

    "If you look at the track record for it, I can honestly say my best season in the NBA statistically was the 2008-09 season, which was after my first Olympics. You see guys, when they come back from playing on a team like this, they go into the new season with the ultimate confidence. We talk during the season, we talk about how tired we're going to be in the summer, but as soon as we all get out to Vegas, we're excited. We're ready to go -- it's on. It's better than being at home just working out and playing ball. You get to play against the best players in the world."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Cuban and some others have lobbied strongly against using NBA stars in international basketball.

    They consider international bball to be a competitor to the NBA, and wonder why they should give their best stars to a competing show.

    I kind of get that on some level... although the Olympics should be something else probably, the world's best and all that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Players have the right to represent their country.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Southern California
    Stern is stupid? Shocking.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Your Anus
    So the best way to promote basketball internationally is to not let your best players play?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Agree with Kobe. Stern/owners...shut up, put the business aside and let these guys have a little pride and play for their countries.

    Who needs Josh Hamilton when you can have this for $11m?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    I agree with Kobe on this.. If you are good enough to play on your countries Olympic squad, it shouldn't matter how old you are.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    wait, if KD is still 23 then we'll be fine

    Born a Knick Live a Knick Die a Knick
    Knicks-Jets-Yanks-Chris Paul-St.Johns-Duke Fan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Good job for saying this Kobe. He's 1 of only a handful of players that can get away with saying this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    The NBA shouldn't even have anything to do with the Olympics

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Stern is an idiot, there will be no point to watch team usa anymore

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Kobe's right
    This is all very funny.

    Follow me on Twitter @KnowNameGuy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    i agree with letting star players represent there country in the olympics .

    we are the best and we have to remind people by destorying them ^_^
    Quote Originally Posted by KniCks4LiFe View Post
    Westbrook is like a younger version of A.I. mixed w/ 23 yr. old Kobe.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    players choice to represent their homeland, dont take that away. esspecially when they play for ppl in the armed forces.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I wonder what would Ferederal COURT say about Stern wanting to limit the ability of american citizens ( and other countrys citizens) to represent the U.S.A

    its a tough call because its a complete clash between the right of Freedom vs the Rights for Private property.

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