Even for hardcore basketball fans, it will be difficult to develop any interest in the ongoing 2023 FIBA basketball World Cup qualifying tournaments being played across various continents. This is especially true for the Men's game.
The reason is quite simple, FIBA barely has any control (or at least so it seems) over the bigger leagues in the World like the NBA and the Euroleague. As it stands, the NBA. and Euro leagues currently have their regular season ongoing as teams struggle to make the playoffs while players struggle to make an impact and be rewarded with larger roles.
Players are simply too encumbered with the competitive nature of the big leagues that few can risk taking out time for national assignments...especially NBA players. Let's face it, it is in the established leagues that these players make name and are able to earn lucrative salaries and sponsorship deals. Not many will be willing to give that up on grounds of patriotism.
NBA vs FIBA
Let's face it, the NBA is the home of basketball, being the most commercially successful ground for the sport by a land mile, as well as the birthplace in terms of origin for the game. The differences in modes of operation between the two bodies are quite noticeable seeing as the NBA sets its own rules which are quite varied from FIBA stipulated rules.
FIBA, though the official international governing body for the sport recognizes the influence of the NBA and seeks to negotiate rather than impose rules meant to be complied.
One good comparison is how the governing body for soccer (the biggest sport in the world), FIFA is able to enforce much greater control over regional and national regulatory bodies. For instance, FIFA mandates that players are compulsorily released by their various clubs during officially recognized FIFA competition windows. Meaning even friendly matches have the best players representing their country.
Cash is King
Even for major competitions such as the Olympics or FIBA World Cup, U.S.A star players don't seem too keen on the competition despite the NBA not being in season. Many will rather opt out and rest. This not only shows how much Monopoly the NBA operates in basketball, but also how much value in placed on competitions outside it. The players don't care, and neither do fans.
The solution I see to this problem (of increased participation of big names in FIBA competitions) is simply for other countries to catch up with the NBA in terms of popularity and commercialization of the sport. This seems more like a pipe dream though, as the NBA's influence is increasing further, spreading into other continents at a rapid pace. This may not be all bad, as it poses an opportunity to grow the game with the help of the largest body in the world.
It will be nice to see Giannis for instance helping Greece make the World Cup, and so forth. Star presence can also help grow the sport locally but the current system just isn't workable.
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