Congratulations to the USA Men’s National Basketball team for winning FIBA Gold this weekend. It brought back to mind the injury sustained by Paul George at the USA basketball scrimmage, reigniting the debate about NBA players being involved in international competition. Some claim that George’s incident is evidence that NBA players should not be involved because the risk of injury could cost teams and the NBA a lot of money. Some team owners believe the risk is just too high from both a basketball and business perspective.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, tweeted that NBA and players don’t make a dime, but that the revenue generated by them, all go to the International Basketball Federation, Fédération Internationale de Basket-ball (FIBA)and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Further, Cuban claims that, “the greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money…” All this might or might not be true, but Mark Cuban has open a whole new perspective.
It is true that the NBA players participating in FIBA World Cup and the Olympics don’t get anything in return. They play to represent their country and compete at the highest level to win, but they do make money for FIBA and the IOC. Money is generated by charging admission to games, selling merchandise, and other promotional incentives. This is where NBA player’s national pride becomes tricky. NBA teams whose players play at FIBA World Cup and/or the Olympics are at risk of getting injured at the expense of their teams. Those teams have spent a hefty amount of money on those players and since contracts are guaranteed, even if they get hurt, they are still obligated to pay them. Usually, player who play in those competitions are the best player on their team who each make roughly, $10-20 million per year. If one of them gets injured, it can hurt a franchise drastically. Not only will a team pay a player who will not be playing for them, but also have team that is not very good. Having a bad team means fans are not going to watch, and when fans don’t watch, a franchise loses money.