A Basketball World Cup? FIBA and the NBA Should Think about It.
The World Cup was big for soccer.
So, what if the International Basketball Federation and the NBA collaborated to make a tournament similar to the World Cup?
I think it could work, and it all sparked when I listened to Bill Simmons and Brian Windhorst on the B.S. Report.
This year’s FIBA World Championships begin August 30, and the best NBA players play for their countries. LeBron James and Kevin Durant will not be playing for the United States, but the likes of Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lilliard, and Derrick Rose are. Manu Ginobili has played for Argentina in the past, but isn’t this year due to injuries. Boris Diaw is playing for France. Emerging star Giannis Antetokounmpo is on Greece’s roster. Jose Calderon, Marc Gasol, Paul Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Serge Ibaka are playing for Spain. J.J. Barea plays for Puerto Rico and Dante Exum of the Utah Jazz plays for Australia.
Basketball’s biggest superstars play in the World Championships, and why not showcase them like soccer does with the World Cup? Plus, I think with the right timing, the FIBA World Championships could be a slam dunk.
Simmons and Windhorst discussed the idea of a midseason tournament, and most likely during All-Star Weekend.
Then, there’s early August. It’s before football, there’s no more basketball until October, and November, and the baseball playoffs won’t begin for another two months.
Sounds perfect, right? However, there is positives and negatives to this idea.
First, why it would work?
Every four years the best basketball players on the planet can come together and play against each other. (It’s not every year, so the best players can rest the other three years before the NBA season starts). There’s 24 teams from the World that take part in FiBA’s World Championships, and that’s plenty of competition. It would give basketball and sports fans a chance to watch NBA superstars and learn about new players from Croatia, or Iran. Not to mention, it would gain revenue for countries, and boost television ratings.
On the flip side, why it wouldn’t work?
The skepticism would be with players getting hurt. Paul George broke his leg after a Team USA scrimmage last week. Durant was going to play in this year’s World Championships, but withdrew Thursday ‘to take some time away.’
I mean I do get it, players don’t want to risk injuries. However, it could happen in the regular season and postseason, too.
It’s a risk and reward experiment. What do you think? Is a ‘basketball World Cup’ a good idea?
*For comments and story ideas, email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.