The 2012 Olympic tournament has been great. Fans have been witness to nail-biting games, early upsets and of course, Team U.S.A. annihilating Nigeria and setting Olympic records.
However, when it comes to international play, there’s a move to have an age limit (23 and under) which may affect not only Team U.S.A. from sending some of their older, established players but other international players.
For the 2014 World Cup FIBA seems set to try and pattern the Olympic tournament after the football model with under-23 teams and three age exceptions. And if this does carry over into other tournaments and the 2016 Olympic Games, one thing is for sure, San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili certainly does not agree with the rule.
“If I think about it selfishly, I don’t care. I am done, almost for sure. But it would be disappointing,” said 35-year-old Ginobili, who is playing in his third Olympics after earning gold at the 2004 Athens Games and a bronze medal in Beijing.
“But it would be disappointing. If I was 24 right now, I would be crying in the corner that I wouldn’t have this opportunity in my life.
“It’s something that I wish every athlete can be part of because it’s amazing. It’s a wonderful experience and I’m so proud for having played in three of them. It is one of the highlights of my career.”
“It would be sad if somebody that is now 23, 22 in four years is going to be (too) old to play in the Olympics and couldn’t do it,” said Ginobili, who has also won three NBA titles during his 10-year career with the San Antonio Spurs.
Playing for ones country is quite an honor. More so for foreign players in the NBA. Manu has represented Argentina for countless tournaments and Olympics and has done so with pride. So to take the experience away from players who are not 23 and under would be a shame. If a player wants to play, and can do so effectively, then age shouldn’t matter.
However, it would certainly be favored by NBA owners who dislike the idea of their star players risking injury and playing during the offseason.
But Manu isn’t the only pro-player to voice their disagreement with the rule. Tyson Chandler, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant and more have voiced their displeasure with the rule. And if more players are against it, expect the rule to never take full effect.
What do you think Spurs fans? Do you agree with Manu or does the idea of an under-23 rule work for you?