Russia, Lithuania Blast David Stern
Before the emperor of basketball makes an entrance with his security detail and wing-tipped yes men into the arena here, David Stern ought to make sure to get to the tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday and take a good long look at an old grudge game between Russia and Lithuania. As the NBA tries to play God on Olympic basketball, pushing FIBA to legislate change that’ll render this magnificent spectacle irrelevant, Stern should be forced to confront the collateral damage of his failing movement.
“I would hope that the countries would be in an uproar about this,” Russia coach David Blatt told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday “Who is one country to determine for everyone how international basketball should be played, and particularly how the Olympic Games should be managed? It’s not supposed to be like that. If it’s a global game, it’s a global game.”
Stern has been met with an increasing level of resistance about his and the NBA owners’ desires to turn the Olympics into an Under-23 tournament and send the league’s superstars to an NBA-FIBA partnered World Cup of Basketball. So much resistance, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Stern use this trip to England to start backpedaling to spare himself one more indignity in these sad, dark final years on the job. Stern should tell the owners that he’s parking the issue and leaving it to his eventual successor, Adam Silver.