Mark Cuban has been one of the staunchest critics of the NBA loaning its players for international competition.
The Mavericks owner doesn’t believe FIBA-run events, like the Word Cup and Olympics, help the NBA enough. Instead, Cuban has contended, they just leave NBA players at risk of injury.
In the wake of Paul George’s horrifying injury during a glorified World Cup practice, Cuban is reiterating his long-held point.
Cuban, via Marc Stein of ESPN:
“The (International Olympic Committee) is playing the NBA. 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 (pulls in) billions of dollars.
The players and owners should get together and create our own World Cup of Basketball.”
Cuban is a man of principle. His principle: making money.
In one respect, Cuban is right. The IOC is not some altruistic organization fulfilling a greater mission. It wants to make money.
Cuban just wants a piece of the pie.
However, he glosses over the advantages of NBA players participating in international events. For one, the NBA gets exposure which increases long-term revenue. Also, FIBA prevents teams around the world from poaching NBA players under contract. That regulation might change if the NBA bans its players from FIBA events.
Maybe those advantages don’t outweigh the costs. Cuban doesn’t think they do, and I tend to agree. But the issues is more complex than he presents.
There’s also the issue of players’ rights to participate in FIBA events, something specifically negotiated into the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Many players, especially foreign ones, expand their brands by representing their country. That leads to sponsorships and other streams of outside income. They certainly don’t want those to dry up.
Of course, if the NBA creates a rival World Cup and cuts the players in on the profits, they’d likely get on board. International basketball competitions can generate a lot of revenue, but only those getting a cut lend support.
Cuban wants in that club.