Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki isn’t playing right now and while he’s not blaming playing in international competition, he is speaking up about his experience playing the Olympic qualifier this summer (Hat tip to ESPN Dallas’ Jeff Caplan for the knowledge).
“Playing in the Euros, looking back now was obviously not the right decision, but it was a decision I made for my country,” Nowitzki said. “But it definitely didn’t help me get ready for the season. So I started working out basically late November, then I had a good three weeks or a month for five, six games a week, so it wasn’t cutting it. I consider this week here, for me, as another week of training camp where I can use it and get better. Got a little fire back; a lot of guys say I’m done. I obviously read the stuff. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon.”
Dirk added that between last year’s extra long summer and the European Championship, he was sick of basketball. To add fuel to the anti- international play fire, Mavs owner Mark Cuban reiterated his dislike for letting NBA players compete in international play without letting the owners have some imput on the matter.
“It’s just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations” — as Cuban calls the Olympics — “can make tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuban said. “There’s some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, ‘Those dumb-asses, we’re taking all their best guys for nothing.’ “
Cuban isn’t just talking about Dirk’s injury.
Guard Rodrigue Beaubois broke his foot in the summer of 2010 while training with Team France for the World Championships. Beaubois is just now showing the burst of speed and play the Mavs raved about when they drafted him. Cuban went on to say he thinks pros playing in the Olympics is pointless.
“I understand from Dirk’s perspective,” Cuban said, sympathizing with his star’s devotion to his country. “We should never put our athletes in that position. For some sports the Olympics are very, very important. For basketball, it’s meaningless. It’s not that they’re not decent games. All things being equal, it’s fun to watch us play Argentina and Spain, but it would be just as fun if they were 21 and under.”
This is where I disagree with “Cubes.” I get that he doesn’t like guys he pays millions of dollars playing for someone else for free, but to say that pros in the Olympics is meaningless is ridiculous. Ask the ’08 Redeem Team if winning that gold medal after the disaster in ’04 was meaningless to them. As Argentina if that gold they won in ’04 is meaningless to them. What do you think San Antonio Spurs fans? Is Cuban wrong? Would you rather Manu, Tiago and TP sit out this summer’s Olympic games?