Did FIBA just kill international basketball?

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Did FIBA just kill international basketball?

It's always been difficult to get a read on what exactly FIBA is meant to be for global basketball. FIFA, the soccer version, is meant to mint money. That is obvious. I'll direct you to the popular FIFA video games, the billion-dollar rights deals and Qatar 2022. FIBA is different: the NBA is the overwhelmingly dominant brand in basketball here and everywhere, and FIBA competition has always been a bit of a sideshow. For American fans and players, it's primarily the vessel during which countries qualify for the Olympics. Consider the minimal outrage when Team USA fails to win the World Championship (now called the World Cup) vs. when it wins bronze in the Olympics. FIBA is far from dominant -- it's barely relevant.

As such, a shake-up would seem to be in order. FIBA decided to expand the World Cup field from 24 to 32, they moved the World Cup off of the FIFA World Cup schedule and, in an apparent bid to please the NBA, they removed all extracurricular importance from the continental championship like EuroBasket. In the past, these tournaments -- EuroBasket, FIBA Americas, etc. -- were used to qualify teams for the World Championship and the Olympics. No longer. Now the tournaments will be held once every four years, and won't be used to qualify anyone for anything.

Like FIFA, FIBA will now qualify teams for the World Cup and Olympics through a separate system. This separate system includes new qualification windows throughout the year (as in soccer). The windows: February, June, September and November. Weird, because three of those months are during the NBA season. FIFA international qualification works because FIFA is dominant and all of the other leagues adjust to allow players to return to their national teams for qualification. FIBA isn't in that spot. The NBA is not likely to adjust its schedule to have multi-week breaks during November and February where players can go off to play a few games of international ball, and June is certainly out of the question for a) players in the NBA Finals, b) prospects preparing for the draft and c) free agents to be hesitant to risk their contracts.

Here's the thing about this new schedule: it kills Team USA, right? The entire Team USA roster is in the NBA. So that entire roster will be out of luck when qualification hits. Use college kids? OK, let's go tell Roy Williams he needs to give up his players for a couple weeks in February to play for a team they aren't likely to make in the end anyway. That makes sense. So ... are we going to use high school players? Americans who aren't in the NBA? Retired NBA players?

The only solution for Team USA will be to win every World Cup (which qualifies the team for the following Olympics) and win every Olympic tournament (which qualifies the team for the next World Cup). Then Team USA would never need to worry about qualification windows. But lose one tournament and it's mayhem.

Other national teams? They can't rely on that. As such, the teams with NBA or Euroleague players will be at a distinct disadvantage. (The Euroleague could adjust its schedule, given that it's already pretty light. Domestic leagues in Europe may also do the same. But it's worth nothing that the European leagues opposed FIBA's shift.) What's France without Tony Parker,Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw? What's Russia withoutAndrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved? What's Montenegro without Nikola Pekovic? These NBA players will be allowed to play in less than half of FIBA's qualification windows, which could seriously squelch their countries' ability to qualify for this expanded World Cup.

So this is what we're left with: primarily second-string teams will compete for spots in the World Cup and Olympics during the traditional league season (when no one will be paying attention), and then the stars might be helicoptered in to perform in those big events, which will be held in back-to-back summers. We're left with a Team USA that needs to win every big tournament to avoid playing high school kids in qualification rounds. We're left with seemingly no one happy, and a product that hardly seems stronger in the wash.

Good job, FIBA. You've really outdone yourself this time.

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all the players leave their clubs to play for their nation and try to qualify for the World Cup. Soccer clubs understand this and don't play players or play them very rarely. This applies to even the biggest clubs in the world like Man U and Real Madrid. They understand that players can't play for country and league at the same time.

NBA teams will undoubtably be less understanding. I don't see NBA owners letting their players leave during the season and since the NBA is where the payday is for any basketball player... I don't see players fighting their NBA teams too hard about leaving.

FIBA is and always will be second fiddle to the NBA and they have a hard time realizing that.

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Was fun while it lasted

This makes so little sense, it boggles the mind. I really hope the NBA was not involved in this decision, because that would be truly infuriating for all fans of international basketball competitions. Have to say, flat out horrible idea. Can't see otherwise. Usually like to take time to get the facts straight, just do not for the life of me understand this call. What the hell is going to happen in July or August? You know, the months that usually made sense for these things? Just seems like an epic fail.

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In european football, they

In european football, they have international breaks in the season, which &$#%#[email protected]! off most of the coaches of club teams. I think that NBA teams are going to get mad, when in December and February players are called away to travel around the planet to smoke some little country in basketball. This will primarily hurt foreign players because they will have to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to play games. I like Arsenal in european football and one of our best players (Santi Cazorla) is on the spanish national team which is playing panama in Panama on wednesday when Arsenal are playing their rivals on sunday. He may not be able to play and if that happens with FIBA that will dumb and hurt the growth of basketball

European Baller
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I hate to break it to you

I hate to break it to you geniuses, but the NBA is the one that REQUESTED these changes.

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@european baller You know

@european baller

You know nothing about basketball, you are obsessed with the nba and suffering from an inferiorty complex.

For your information, all the proposed changes have nothing to do with the nba, nba types discussed last year with Baumann and Mahinmi the idea of an exclusive world cup with maybe 8 or 12 teams but fiba world hired some fifa guys who are clueless about basketball like you. Of all the proposed changes only one major will come to fruition, the cycle starting with 2019.

Why are you inventing lies?

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Realistically I see his

Realistically I see his point. Yet another example of NBA anti-Greece bias. If this goes through and NBA players wont be able to play in World Cup qualification windows the NBA can sign the whole Greek team and not allow them to play for the national team. Result = Greece never qualify for the World Cup which perfectly suits the NBA's sinister anti-Greek goals.

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Making the World Cup 32 teams

Making the World Cup 32 teams was gr8 move tbh ,b/c it will spread the game more world wide and increase its popualrity ,remember that on the international level the world cup in every sport is the most important comptetion ,so seeing your National Team playing in what you consider the biggest competition in the game will ensure increase in ratings in so many countries
That said the qualification system is stupid ,Only FIFA is strong and popular enough to do such system ,and soccer is very different game that is more physical and need more rest between games that is why the qualification system is there ,b/c you can't play the qualification in just few days anyway
Other sports do the same continental competition ,handball,volleyball etc,all use it as World Cup qualification ,that is actually better for the game tbh
wrong move by FIBA

European Baller
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FIBA agreed on a new competition schedule at the weekend that removed some continental events from a packed four-year tournament cycle.

"NBA owners were making it relatively clear that it was not a situation they would continue to support," Baumann said by telephone from Shanghai. "We were really filling the calendar so much that we felt players were either not at the top (of their form) or had to choose which summer to play."

The idiots calling me a liar for saying that the NBA was behind this owe me an apology.

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