Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the wake of Paul George's leg injury and even called for the NBA and its players to organize their own quadrennial competition.
"In the wake of Paul George's gruesome leg fracture suffered Friday while on Team USA duty, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has renewed his call for the NBA and its players to organize their own quadrennial competition separate from the sport's international governing body.
"Long known as the NBA's most outspoken critic of international basketball, Cuban has again questioned when NBA teams allow their players to play for their national teams while taking on the bulk of the financial risk in the event of an injury.
"'My thoughts go out to Paul,' Cuban told ESPN.com on Saturday. 'I really feel for him.'
"Cuban then reiterated his longstanding criticism of the NBA's agreement with FIBA, which stipulates that only NBA players themselves can refuse their country's invite to play for the national team except in the event of a 'reasonable medical concern.' The San Antonio Spurs invoked that clause this week to prevent Manu Ginobili from representing Argentina at FIBA's upcoming basketball World Cup thanks to the lingering effects of a stress fracture.
"'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. They make a killing and make Tony Soprano look like a saint.
"'The pros in multiple sports are smart enough to not play when they are eligible free agents. But teams take on huge financial risk so that the IOC committee members can line their pockets.
"'The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money. The players and owners should get together and create our own World Cup of Basketball.'
"NBA commmissioner Adam Silver told ESPN.com on Sunday that the league will discuss international competition in the fall.
"'Without a doubt, basketball has grown tremendously since 1992 when NBA players began playing in the Olympics. Also, it's important to note the jump many of our players have made in terms of ability, leadership and passion for the game by playing for their home countries,' Silver told ESPN.com. 'Injuries can happen any place at any time. The experiences our players have enjoyed by participating in their national teams, however, are ones that are unique and special in almost every other way.
"At this point, I don't anticipate a major shift in the NBA's participation in international competitions. It seems clear, however, that this will be a topic at our next NBA competition committee meeting in September and our board of governors' meeting in October, and of course, we will continue to evaluate the pros and cons of participating in international tournaments.'
"Cuban is hardly alone among the NBA owners who wish their players skipped international competition in the summertime, but he's been on a virtual island in terms of his willingness to make that position public."
The Forth Worth Star-Telegram's Mac Engel weighed in on Cuban's stance in his Aug. 5 column:
"Mark Cuban's complaint is not about the Olympics or international basketball events, but that he doesn't get a cut.
"Cuban's points -- NBA players participating in the Olympics or World Whatever Games are facing a needless risk taken only by the NBA and its owners -- are all valid, but this stance needs to come from somebody else.
"This is 2014, and there is so much growing dissatisfaction over the disparity of wealth in this world, no one will sympathize with the 0.1 percent trying to squeeze a little bit more, no matter how much sense it makes or how fair of a proposal exists.
"It is 2014, and fans are more on the side of the players than ever before in their quest for one more buck. Players (and fans) fully expect management is trying to put one over on them, which they are.
"Cuban's message needs to come from a player. A very good player on the verge of great. A player like Paul George.
"It was always a matter of when, not if, an NBA player suffered a massive injury in one of these things. The Indiana Pacers 2014-15 season pretty much ended Saturday night when George suffered a nasty leg break during a USA Basketball showcase in Las Vegas.
"How it took this long for something like this to happen can only be described as good luck.
"George already signed his max contract worth about $90 million, but his injury is a reminder of the fragility of it all for the players.
"Pacers president Larry Bird said in a statement that this injury could have happened anywhere at any time, and that he supports USA Basketball.
"Cuban is not having any of that nonsense.
"Cuban took to Twitter to ask: 'When considering FIBA/Olympic events as who gets paid. Players=No. NBA=No. FIBA/IOC=YES. Ask the people making money off us what they think.
"That is wonderful Cuban cares so much about the players' financial well-being. He obviously cared a tremendous amount when the NBA hammered the players in the 2011 lockout and left these same players he cares so much about with another one-sided argument in favor of men such as Cuban.
"What Cuban continues to willfully ignore is that his league, the players, his team and his own franchise are worth what they are in large part because of the international market. The NBA is not nearly the worldwide monster it has become without allowing its players to participate in the Olympics, beginning in 1992 at Barcelona."