US stars slam plan for Olympic youth movement

Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul, two of the most high-profile NBA players on the USA team, have added their voices to the growing opposition to proposals by their league that veteran players should not be allowed to feature in future Olympic Games.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, with the urging of the league's owners, has suggested that after London 2012 the basketball tournament will follow the format of Olympic football and allow only players aged 23 and under to play.

The large number of absentees from the current USA Olympic team through injury has added fuel to the movement and the loss only last week of LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin to a knee injury was interpreted in some quarters as signaling the end of the 20-year practice of NBA players appearing at the Olympics.

Bryant, a veteran with the Los Angeles Lakers and an Olympic champion in 2008, is openly opposed to the proposal, however, and left little room for doubt about how strong are his convictions.

"It's a stupid idea. It should be a (player's) choice," said Bryant, speaking at Manchester Town Hall ahead of the USA's Olympic friendly game against Great Britain on Thursday.

"The Olympics is really about putting the best athletes out there to compete against the best. From a basketball standpoint, it would lessen the Olympics, absolutely.

"I don't think they really discuss it much with us, we just discuss it like this, we kind of voice our opinions through you guys (media).

"We talk about it among ourselves. It's just a dumb idea."

Bryant did not hesitate to pledge his commitment to the USA's bid to retain their Olympic title and he has an instant retort to the suggestion that NBA owners are merely looking to protect the health of their players by proposing the change.

"No, it's to protect their investments," he said. "When you look at guys who are injured here, they have treatment around the clock. We have the best training staff, we have the professional coaches who are here monitoring us.

"If our owners or NBA coaches want to contact us and see how we're doing, they can easily come to practice, they can easily talk to the training staff - as opposed to guys disappearing for the summer, coming back overweight and not knowing where they are.

"We're playing pick-up basketball anyway and if you get injured, you don't have a trainer on staff.

"If I was an owner, I'd much rather my players played on the USA Olympic team. It's much better than playing against a bunch of bums."

Paul, a team mate of Bryant's in their 2008 Olympic triumph, had a minor thumb injury during the USA's training camp in Las Vegas last week, but has reported himself fully fit after appearing in warm-up victories over the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

The point guard also shares Bryant's unequivocal support for NBA players appearing in the Games.

"I'm thankful they haven't thought about that now," said Paul. "If that was the case, I wouldn't be able to play now. I'm 27 years old.

"I personally would like for it to be your own decision because playing in an Olympics, this will be my second, is the greatest experience of my life. I like having the option.

"If you look at the track record for it, I can honestly say my best season in the NBA statistically was the 2008-09 season which was after my first Olympics."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Catholics organize to promote pope's climate change message

    NEW YORK (AP) — There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines. …

  • Forgotten for decades, fallen NY soldier finally honored
    Forgotten for decades, fallen NY soldier finally honored

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Carroll Heath didn't have it easy growing up in the Great Depression. His father wasn't around, his mother was a patient in a mental hospital and he kept largely to himself. Soon after graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army and wound up in the Philippines, where he's believed to have died sometime in 1942. …

  • APEC trade chiefs vow to speed up work in WTO

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Trade ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday issued strong support to the World Trade Organization's efforts to boost global trade amid a flurry of regional free trade agreements. …

  • Negotiations on TPP in 'end-game', says US trade representative
    Negotiations on TPP in 'end-game', says US trade representative

    Negotiations to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade zone are in the "end-game", US Trade Representative Mike Froman said Sunday. Asked about a timetable, Froman said: "We agreed to conclude (the TPP talks) the moment that we have an agreement on an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement." "The focus will now shift to the US House of Representatives when they come back from recess and we look forward to working with them to get it passed as soon as possible," he …

  • ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes
    ‘Taklub’ wins jury prize in Cannes

    The Yolanda-inspired film “Taklub” has won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The advocacy film, which had a successful premiere last Tuesday under the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, is directed by 2009 Cannes best director Brillante Mendoza and top-billed by Nora Aunor. The award cited the film’s sensitive portrayal of individuals and communities in the Philippines fighting to continue living despite natural disasters exposing them to suffering and death. …

  • Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam
    Orphan tops chemical engineering board exam

    A 21-year-old orphan from Capiz topped the chemical engineering board examinations held this month. Remington Salaya, a cum laude graduate of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo, ranked first in the board examinations with a score of 83.30 percent. Out of 405 chemical engineering graduates who took the exam in mid-May, 239 passed. …

  • A sunset party for APEC delegates
    A sunset party for APEC delegates

    Greeted by the beat of Ati-atihan drummers, delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade ministers meeting enjoyed a welcome dinner and cultural presentation at sunset yesterday. Dubbed FuntaSea, Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa’s Banyugan Beach was transformed into a fantasy island, complete with mermaids, fire dancers, and choreographed paraws (sailboat) representing the best of Boracay. With APEC meetings being held all over the Philippines, each presentation is conceptualized …

  • UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute
    UN chief urges peaceful solution of sea dispute

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for a peaceful solution to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China’s increased assertiveness has alarmed its smaller neighbors. In Manila, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. appealed to China to respect various international agreements on freedom of navigation and aviation. Coloma’s call came in the wake of an incident Wednesday where Chinese naval forces warned a US …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options