FIBA Official: Too Early for U23 Rule
In a wide-ranging interview, FIBA Secretary General and IOC member Patrick Baumann talked about the future of the Olympics, the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the NBA.
(Baumann:) Certainly from an NBA perspective, there’s the wear and tear factor – 19 days of being in London, plus the preparations…it’s pretty long, having started just shortly after the end of the NBA season.
So there’s an issue about length. One way to tackle that is by not bringing the older players. That’s why the Commissioner (David Stern) has come up with “why not go with U23”, while at the same time promoting younger athletes and also making a difference between the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Olympic Games. From a FIBA perspective, it’s an interesting approach and we understand the point of view of the NBA and USA Basketball. We know their concerns.
From a global perspective, the progress of the talent in all other countries doesn’t go at the same speed or the same pace as the USA. They don’t all have a school system like the USA. So the ability for the rest of the world to produce a lot of talent is not the same as the USA. As a result of that, lowering the age to U23 at the Olympics could actually widen the divide between the USA and the rest of the world.
So it would be premature to make changes in the quality of basketball at the Olympics, especially before having maximised the potential of the World Cup. So it’s too early to make any changes in the Olympic programme.