Tuesday, April 24, 2007

National Pride?

This week, Fabricio Oberto, Walter Herrmann, and Manu Ginobili announced that they will not play for the Argintine national team this summer, though they did say that they would play in 2008's Olympics. I find this story just a bit unsettling. Over the past four plus years many NBA player's are scolded for forgoing international compition during the summer. Now, Argentina, who fields perhaps the world's finest team, is faling victim to the same phenominon. This, however, seems to only be an American thing. I doubt many pros from the European leagues fail to join their national team. Yet the NBA's players, for whatever reason, seem to be starting a trend of opting against major compitition in the summer, resulting perhaps from the NBA's corporate culture.

In the NBA, rewards are high, but are risks. If you are making millions of dollars playing basketball, you also stand to lose millions of dollars if you get hurt and are unable to continue your career. In Europe there are so many teams and so many different professional levels, it is easier to lose your first step but keep your professional career alive. In Europe, a player on a terrific sqad could get hurt and have their abilities deminished, but there are more teams there, and thus a larger market for talent. In America the NBA is enroute to monopolizing minor leagues with its D-League, taking buisness away from 'minor' leagues such as USBL and ABA (2000). This contributes to the fact that 'minor' league European teams are less far away form 'minor' league American teams, where, other than the NBDL, the drop off in play, pay, and prestige is high. Therefore, NBA players are more likely to be conservative in the off season, because the cost of failure is high. This, I think, is why players in America are begining to skip the smaller international matches.

This is an American phonomion, borne out of the incredible amounts of corporate control that exist over all American professional basketball. Because of this, I expect to see other Eurupean players playing here to start taking their summers off.

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