The FIBA World Cup is now over and Spain is the champion of 2019. One of the strangest thing that happened this tournament though was with Team USA. This tournament was their worst performance at the FIBA World Cup. Ever. With only one All-NBA Player on their roster, it has left fans wondering why more Team USA stars won’t represent their country.
Pressure Is On
No, the Team USA stars won’t suffer from being put under the spotlight. The NBA is still basketball’s biggest stage.
So, who’s putting the pressure on the players? Their teams.
Ownership might not say it outwardly, but having their stars play in this tournament could end poorly.
Obviously, injuries play a factor in what ownership is deciding but another reason is one many might not consider. That is a player’s reputation.
Looking back to an international incident like the Australia and Philippines fight, or more recently the scuffle between Greece and the United States, shows players can be stupid sometimes. This image does not reflect well on the players. If they are in the NBA then their name is attached to the team, making the teams look bad as well. Plus, if a player were to suffer a major injury fighting in an international tournament it would be incredibly stupid.
Going off of part of the last point injuries may be a deterrent for some Team USA Stars. Looking back at what happened to Paul George is all that needs to be said as a reason to reconsider joining the team.
— The Joe Rose Show (@JoeRoseShow) August 4, 2014
An injury sustained by one of these stars would 100% of the time be seen as preventable. On top of that basketball is a sport where one player really can change an entire team. So, it realistically could impact championship odds if the injury were serious enough.
Most players are thinking it wouldn’t be worth it to get injured in something essentially meaningless. Which leads to the final point.
The interest in general from the Team USA stars doesn’t seem to be there, and who can blame them?
The FIBA World Cup would not and should not be very high on their list of concerns. Sure, it would be cool to represent their country, but why risk it. It’s not nearly as important as an NBA Championship or Olympic Gold.
Even an Olympic Gold would probably be a stretch for some of the Team USA stars.
It’s going to take a lot for the USA A-Team to want to show up to play at the FIBA World Cup, and a lot of that will come from drawing interest. Not only from fans, but from the players. This isn’t to say that all players care about is the fame and glory of winning, but really, what benefit is there for the Team USA stars to play in the World Cup.
The question may never be fully answered and there may be no solution. Now that the world is caught up to the United States in basketball, don’t be surprised if they fail to win nearly as often as in years past.