NBA 'stars': You Owe it to your country

Lack of patriotism in our major sports hit a new low as Mark Cuban made a thought-provoking statement this week, an aberration, perhaps, from his usual asinine remarks.

Wednesday, Cuban’s comments were published in the Dallas Morning News regarding the Olympics and how we, as Americans, are lying to ourselves if we accept them as anything different than another lucrative opportunity.

“I hate the fact that we lie to ourselves and pretend this is about representing country," Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. "It's not. It's about money."

Cuban, who doesn’t want his players to play because of the money he has invested in them, brought up an interesting point that is just simply embarrassing.

As the U.S. basketball team is assembled and NBA players are pulled, scratching and clawing from their posh-multi-million-dollar estates, to make ‘the best’ team in the world, it shows the sad state of our major-sports stars.

The best players in our country have become too good to play for the country that has given them the opportunity to make iniquitous amounts of money. Some cite fear of injury, others give little reason, as Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups did this week, respectively.

And although Cuban is in the middle of this, he is attempting to run an enterprise that he has to pay millions to sustain. Who can blame him for not wanting his players to play when his star: Dirk Nowitzky made over $16 million last year alone, and will by the way play for Germany.

Imagine being invited to play a game you supposedly love, that comes easy to you, and you make vast amounts of money playing, and turning it down. The self-inflicted embarrassment is worse than yawning with satisfaction at the urinal in a crowded bathroom.

Other than a lack of patriotism, this situation is reflective of the how wide the gap between our major sports and the minor sports has become.

While it takes less work and more natural ability to be good at the major sports than say swimming or distance running, the players make more money and yet turn down the opportunity to represent their country; the ultimate goal of a track, swimming or soccer athlete.

And it can all be blamed on one thing: $. Or rather: $$$$$$$.

Capitalism is great, don’t get me wrong and I am happy the players in our major sports are getting their share of the money rather than the times when owners ruled and players had to get second jobs in the off-season.

But the money has become too much and is reflective when our greatest athletes are worth too much, for one reason or another, to play for the country that allowed for their current economic status.
For the first time I’m embarrassed to be a major American sports fan.

When Steve Prefontaine spoke out against the AAU and called for paid athletes to be allowed to compete it was a good solution to allow our best athletes to represent our country.

But now as Pre’s dream is ever apparent and the best athletes ARE asked to represent our country it’s sad to say the best people, they are not.


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