Basketball: NBA stars in Olympics is 'stupidity' - Mavs owner

Mark Cuban, owner of the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, is upset once again at the idea of league players competing in the Olympics, telling ESPN it is "the epitome of stupidity''.

The US-based sports network's website cited Cuban's comments, the latest in years of criticism of NBA talent in the Olympics, in the wake of losing German star Dirk Nowitzki and French guard Rodrigue Beaubois to injuries.

"There are some guys sitting at the Olympic headquarters going, 'Those dumb-asses - we're taking all their best guys for nothing','' Cuban told ESPN.

"It's just the epitome of stupidity that we would allow ourselves to be used so other corporations (the International Olympic Committee and its sponsors) can make tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.''

Cuban said he will keep fighting and complaining to NBA commissioner David Stern even though he accepts he is unlikely to stop the NBA from allowing top talent to play in the Olympics.

"The commissioner's office won't open it up to discussion. They just make a unilateral call,'' Cuban said. "They'll take calls about it, but won't put it up for a vote.

Hopefully, I can get him to move it to a vote at some point.''

Beaubois suffered a broken left foot preparing for the 2010 World Championship while 33-year-old Nowitzki, last season's NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, played last year for Germany in a failed Olympic qualifying bid.

Nowitzki, being paid $US19.1 million by Cuban this season, is in a four-game layoff to help build strength in a sore right knee and has said it was an error to follow last year's NBA title run with playing in the European Championship.

"I understand from Dirk's perspective,'' Cuban said. "We should never put our athletes in that position.

"For some sports the Olympics are 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.''

In a 2008 blog posting, Cuban wondered: "Are we sure the Olympics is about patriotism and pride, or is it about commercialism? I'm certainly not against (General Electric, then-owner of US Olympic telecaster NBC) and the US Olympic Team making as much money as they possibly can on the game. More power to them. But let's not lie to ourselves about what is going on.''

In 2004, Cuban blogged that he was unhappy the NBA was subsidising the Olympic movement and risking the loss of top stars to injury.

"It should be a huge selling point exclusively available to the NBA, but unfortunately that is no longer the case,'' Cuban said.

"Why are we giving our most valuable manpower to a huge business, the Olympics, so they can try to take revenue away from the NBA and our partners?''

- AFP

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