NBA players might not make it to Tokyo for the rescheduled 2021 Summer Olympics.
Basketball is global and the NBA is international. It’s been that way for as long as many NBA fans can remember. However in 2021, it may not be the case.
For the first time since the Dream Team took the gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Games, there may not be any players from the NBA participating in Olympic competition.
According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a recent interview with NBA TV, it is “unlikely” the NBA season beginning in 2021 would pause to accommodate the Olympic Games.
Consider the logistics involved in executing league players participating.
Consider, also, that both the NBA season and the Tokyo games are in dire need of one thing that neither has an abundance of: time.
The 2021 NBA season is already slated to begin in January, at the earliest. That would push the projected schedule to a regular season ending in June. The Finals wouldn’t end for another two months afterwards. That timetable overlaps with the Tokyo Games scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021 and commence for the following two weeks.
It is literally impossible to be in two places at the same time, and it’s equally impossible to carve out the necessary time for NBA players to withdraw from their respective teams and report to International competition. Additionally, accommodations would need to be made for players belonging to other countries. There are seven countries that have already qualified for the Olympics that have NBA players on their rosters.
And that’s not the end of it.
Time would still be needed to be allotted for training camp for the Olympics and rest from NBA competition. There just isn’t enough time to go around.
Hopefully, when things get back to “normal” we’ll be able to enjoy the best of what the NBA has to offer showcased on the international stage.
Until then, let’s get prepared to see the best amateur (non-NBA) talent the world has to offer in the summer of 2021.
Those stories are still fun to learn, tell and watch…and that’s what the Olympics is all about.