Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Olympics vs World Cup Basketball competitions - by Coach Scott Fields

Olympics vs World Cup  Basketball Competitions  - by Coach Scott Fields

Olympics vs World Championships basketball !!

Which is bigger ? Which is better ? Which is more important ? Which has more significance?

F.I.B.A, is the International Basketball Federation it comes from the French term which stands for or translates to the Federation of International Basketball. FIBA started in 1932 and it is an establishment for all governing countries who participate in International basketball around the globe.

Please indulge me while I share some history and research with you on the competitions. It seems  a bit college course  101 of me,  but here you go.
The history of FIBA World Championships began in 1950, with the first FIBA Basketball World Cup which was the 1950 World Cup Championships. The FIBA Basketball World Cup is an international basketball competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of the International Basketball Federation. (FIBA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been held every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1950 (the 1958 tournament was postponed to 1959 and did not get back on its current schedule until the 1970 tournament was held three years after the 1967 tournament).
The tournament was conceived during the 1948 Summer Olympics when FIBA leaders, seeing how successful the Olympic basketball tournament had become, wanted to hold a Championship every four years between Olympiads. The first tournament was held in 1950 in Argentina and was won by the hosts. The tournament was later dominated from 1963 through 1998 by Brazil, the Soviet Union (and later Russia), the United States, and Yugoslavia  (and later Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro), as those four teams won every medal in that era. Since 2002, however, parity has seen new teams claim medals as basketball continues to grow throughout the world.
The tournament was restricted to European and South American professional players for the first forty years of its existence. In 1989, FIBA made the decision to allow NBA players for future tournaments. Starting in 1994, NBA players have played in each Basketball World Cup.

Olympics Games history  : Olympics, comes from Greek origin and stood for the city of Olympia in Greece. The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in south west Greece. Every four years, around 50,000 people came from all over the Greek world to watch and take part. The ancient games were also a religious festival, held in honor of Zeus, the king of the gods. This Olympic logo has the five rings to be symbolic for the five continents.  These games were designed to bring peace and unity through the medium of sports. These games were designed to bring political enemies together. Interesting , don't you think? The Olympics started back in 1896. Some Olympic history The Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia Greece. Competition was among representatives of several city- states and kingdoms of Ancient Greece. These Games featured mainly athletic but also combat sports such as wrestling and the pankration, horse and chariot racing events. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter games  alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. There are now Para Olympics and Special Olympics.

now that I have put you to sleep and you have lost interest in the topic, here is my take on these games.

I have an unique perspective on this topic. It hits home for me as I have been blessed to have coached in FIBA as a head coach for 15 seasons and we have won multiple championships. My lens is different from most people from the USA, which I call home.  FIBA is the Federation for International Basketball Association. With my professional coaching abroad I was woven into the fabric of this competitive environment. I even assisted and consulted with a handful of national teams.

The Olympics are every four years but with alternating Winter and Summer games we wait only 2 years between those specific Olympic competitions. The FIBA World Championships are also 4 years apart. Basketball, is of course apart of the summer Olympic games.

FIBA will have the field grow from 24 teams to 32 teams. FIBA has multiple continents represented from regions such as Oceanic, Africa, Americas, Europe and Asia.
The Olympics has over 200 nations represented. I am just trying to compare and contrast here a bit.

I want to get back to my lens and perspective of these wonderful games and competitions. This article is not about ME, I am just sharing my experiences and why I feel the way I feel about the current situation of the many players removing themselves from the World Championship competitions.

I see both sides of the argument. I understand how the world views the World Championships for Basketball and I get the entire Olympic game attraction for the American public.

My personal involvement is this. I have coached over 100 players who went on to represent their countries. Many of these players played and proudly represented their countries and wore their countries colors across their chest. I know and understand the pride they have to say they played for their country. USA, Puerto Rico, China, France, Venezuela, New Zealand, Lebanon, Nigeria are a few of these countries I speak of who participated in either World Championships or Olympic games. I have also coached players who represented their countries  and I had the honor to coach players from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Luxemburg, Austria. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Dominican Republic who wanted nothing more to represent their countries in lower level competitions. I also have close friends who have coached national teams in Africa, such as Angola, European counties such as Poland, England and even Canada.

These players who represent their countries do it for honor, do it for pride. It is an act of service so to say.

I want to share with the American public this. The world Championships are the biggest competition for countries around the globe.  The World championships are the pinnacle of competitions on the basketball stage. Now, to the USA, we do not take the World Championship as serious as we do the Olympic games.

Why? the way I see it, the Olympic games have pageantry, they have marketing opportunities, they have sponsorship opportunities. Olympic games have the TV support on multiple channels all day and night. The American public set around the TV and love the back stories. The endorsement dollar speaks. I will say it again, the endorsement dollar speaks. The Olympic games are a platform and entertainment that brings the American public together for the common goal of winning GOLD ! The 1992 Basketball Dream Team , which was compiled of the best players in the game during that era of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird who NBA commissioner David Stern wisely marketed the league around. Then Michael Jordan helped take the game global.  That Team also had Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen Clyde Drexler Chris Mullins and Patrick Ewing. They were coached by Chuck Daly assisted by Lenny Wilkens, Coach K and PJ Carlisemo. This team was dominant. in the Qualifying tournament they beat Cuba by 79,
 they beat Canada by 44, Argentina by 41 Venezuela by 47 and Puerto Rico by 38. the games were not close and America sent a message, the game was founded here in the USA and we were the best in the world,. The world was in awe of this collection of talent. players from other teams would shake the hands of the American players while lining up for FT's. They would take pictures of the players from the bench while they waited to get on the court. I coached a player from France who was on the National team and he told stories on the bus of how he tried to guard Michael Jordan. When these 1992 Olympics started the beat the African country of Angola by 68 the beat Croatia by 33, where MJ and Scottie put on a defensive show to stop Toni Kukoc as Chicago Bull front office executive J Krause wanted Toni with the Bulls the next season. They then beat Germany by 43 Brazil by 44 and Spain by 41 , They then beat Puerto Rico by 38 Lithuania by 51 nd in the Gold Medal game they beat Croatia again by 32. No game was ever in question. only a glimpse of the endorsement dollar would flex its muscle of American flags were draped over the sweat suits of the American players to hide the logo on the stars and stripes suits to get their gold medal on the stands when the National anthem was playing.

but since that time and era, the world has caught up the American dominance. American teams would once again struggle with team put together and with the ego's of the players feeling the other counties would be intimidated by the NBA stars.

it was like the NCAA sending their best to compete vs the strong professionals of club teams of Europe. European teams were club players and not considered professional and maintained amateur status. but NBA players were professional and not able to play in Olympics until that 1992 team, but it was considered by many to dominate. the Dream team was compared to the dominant African runners of the distant races. but now the tables have turned? The World has caught up with the Americans.  Why? was it the lessons taught by the Dream Team, is it the AAU culture ? (this is a topic for another day) Is it the FIBA clubs have better grass roots basketball and fundamentals are better taught through a club system? Is it the ESPN sports center highlights are only of dunks and not fundamental team basketball?  I will allow you to make your own decision. Is it the young players playing against club pro's? To me it is a mix of all the previously mentioned.

The world and all other countries put far more importance on the World Championships? The Americans and the American players put far more importance on the Olympic games when it comes to Basketball competition. Is it because of Ego? Is it because of the ol' mighty dollar? is it because of the newer term now known as load management? or is it a sprinkle of all? (again I will allow you to form our own opinions)

I feel disappointed when I read the recent news of NBA players withdrawing from the FIBA world cup qualifiers. These games are great confidence builders for players such as D Mitchell, Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum,  Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Joe Harris, Kyle Kuzma, Khris Middleton, Brooke Lopez Marcus Smart, Myles Turner Derrick White these are all nice young players but do not have the fire power of the NBA elite athletes and star power. I can only believe that these young stars will go into their NBA teams vet camps with confidence and swag after these games. Should America only send U23 teams to these games? Why are Lebron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry not going? Is it because of the shift with Coach K stepping down and Coach Pop of the Spurs taking over. NOT !?! Is it because of Load management? probably, these older vet players want to save their legs for the NBA season? is it again the ol' might dollar and exposure?  Just think of the number of International players now in the NBA ? Think of the influx of international talent on NBA rosters. the fear and intimidation factor is and has been gone.

We can not take these World Championship qualifiers lightly. We are about to send these young players into the lions den. These other countries of Spain, France, Serbia don't care who dons the USA jersey, they will come to win it all for their country.

Remember me saying the Dream team of 1992 beating Spain by 41, well Spain can and have beaten team USA. Argentina with Manu G, Luis S and other NBA players beat team USA in World Cup championships.

This could be a challenging summer for team USA. They have nice young talent. but I do not foresee 50 pt wins with this group. I do not see an average of 30 pt wins with this group. I am not saying the young NBA stars can not compete, I am saying it will be a learning curve for this young collaboration of talent.  It could be a hard lesson for Team USA? Is it the players fault? Is it the NBA's fault ? is it the old mighty dollars fault? There is a new Coach, these tem was just put together and it takes time to get chemistry. It takes time to learn the rules of international play.

I just hope the American fans and spectators are realistic going into these World Cup qualifying games. There will not be 70 point blowouts. Again, I have been apart of FIBA.  I know the passion and purpose of the other nations competing in these upcoming games. It will be interesting....It will be entertaining,... It will be basketball played at a high level of basketball IQ....It will be strategic...It will be a chess match exploiting weaknesses of teams. Can the athleticism of the young NBA players vs the fundamental ball being played by other FIBA teams? Can the young NBA players match the inside game of other top countries? Does the young NBA team have enough bench depth and shooting? Can we match or equal the team play of the older and more experienced Euro national teams? remember the international game is a bit different than the FIBA game, there are a few rule differences, Travels are called when the ball is not put down on the first step, the ball can be played off of the rim, and this is a mental conditioning thing for these players, that is a goal tending call in the NBA. We need to be able to react and swipe the ball off of the rim and utilize or athleticism. The 3 second lane is wider. the no touch rule when a team takes the ball out of bounds to speed up the play. These are all adjustments team USA can make on the fly, but it takes time...

I do feel team USA has talent, we just don't have the star power of the top names of the NBA. Will the American viewers follow and support this team? basketball fans, are basketball fans, the will watch summer hoops think of the TBT tournament where the winner takes all 2 million dollar purse. the BIG 3 of Ice Cubes retired players tour.  Fans support the NBA summer league in Vegas, so they can get a first glimpse of the drafted NBA talent of the future.  so those fans will support these games. but the casual fan?   I know they have far more interest in the Olympic games.

I, am excited for the World Championship qualifiers. I enjoy watching former players of mine compete, I enjoy watching friends of mine coach with team USA and with team abroad.

Lets enjoy the games, lets pray they stay injury free and healthy. Lets support these young men and embrace the games !