Blog Entry

U.S. Invasion of Europe

Posted on: August 15, 2008 7:46 pm

Jannero Pargo is the latest in a host of NBA players -- U.S.-born and otherwise -- who have opted to play professional basketball in Europe. The others include Josh Childress, Earl Boykins, Carlos Arroyo, Nenad Krstic, Carlos Delfino, Bostjan Nachbar and Jorge Garbajosa.

A couple of thoughts:

1. I laughed when Jannero Pargo's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that his client was one of the "higher profile" players to go over. That was spoken like a true agent. So Jerry McGuire-ish!

2. Obviously, this has to do with the weak American dollar. So, we can either blame the current administration on the current plight of our economy, or the Fed. Either way, the money marginal players like Pargo can earn in Europe is more lucrative than the money he could make in the NBA.

3. I think this is a good thing. David Stern has been vying to expand and promote basketball throughout the entire world. His master plan has been aided or facilitated by the weak American dollar, but the expansion of high quality professional basketball world wide was inevitable. Let me say "is" inevitable. 

Eventually, being a world champion will indeed mean exactly that. I venture to say, with great certainty, that the winner of the NBA will enter into the basketball equivalent of a Champions League at some point in time -- hopefully sooner than later. I envision it being a month-long tournament matching up the very best teams in the world.

4. We've seen by way of recent World Championships and the Olympics, that the world has caught up. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and the very best the United States has to offer can no longer breeze to victory. It requires practice, dedication and heart to win.

I look forward to the day in which this basketball version of the Champions League holds the attention of the world similar to Euro 2008 last summer. We'll see what happens.


Since: Nov 22, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2008 1:11 pm

U.S. Invasion of Europe

You say the "world has caught up" and that the NBA stars can no longer "breeze to victory". I see it a little bit differently. The NBA stars have relapsed, their performance in past games showing that to be successful in basketball requires teamwork on offense AND a defense, not 5 guys playing a Jordanesque one on one, waiting their turn to get the ball back. The difference this year points that out, in that Coach K has them playing a super D and actually passing the ball on offense. It's been a joy to watch, something that I can't say about most NBA games.

Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: August 16, 2008 11:34 am

U.S. Invasion of Europe

  I apologize then Greg. I took the topic out of context. I would enjoy the Champions league. It is great to watch in baseball and I believe that basketball could bring about the same type of response. The world has become a very small place. This being said the international stage is much more open and easier to obtain. I guess the only question would be this. What time of year would you have it. Would it follow the N.B.A. finals? How would that affect the players? How much shorter would the carers become because of the extra play? Last of all what format would you like to see?

Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2008 11:21 am

U.S. Invasion of Europe

All very good points. Let me clarify a couple of things ...

First, I was strictly speaking about professional basketball. I like the idea of the best players in the world playing against each other in an annual Champions League-like event. As for amateur sports, that's a whole different discussion.

Second, when it comes to events like these Olympics, I believe it needs to involve the very best that Countries have to offer. Soccer and Boxing are two events that don't follow this logic, and they are the most difficult to watch. EURO 2008 was a heck of lot more fun to watch than Olympic Soccer.

Since: Mar 24, 2007
Posted on: August 16, 2008 11:07 am

U.S. Invasion of Europe

  I read this blog when you first posted and wanted to wait until I processed my thoughts to respond. As I have never been a fan of professionals being allowed into the Olympics, I really wanted to make sure I left emotion out. Well Greg to be honest that is just not possible. The Olympics have become just another way for corporate America and for the rest of the Advertising world, to push their product. It is also a time when individuals can push their Q score up. With this in mind, i believe that is why some American players are opting to play for other countries. It is still all about the dollar, Yen or Euro. I see this as a two part issue.

  The first being the I.O.C. and their inability to commit to a set of guidelines. The committee should be the bottom-line on governing the athletes and the teams allowed to be present in the games. How can a country just pay for an individual to become a citizen? If any of the immigrants trying to relocate to a new country to better themselves and their family tried this it against the law. Somehow though when it comes down to the games it is common place. This is the first issue that needs to be addressed. I am sure it would require a very public figure to take a stand.

  The second issue that needs to be addressed is the allowing of professional athletes to participate. This is a much more difficult task. The number of countries that have athletes that are state funded and "payed" to train, practice and play for a living is far beyond the reach of change. Simply by offering the astounding cash rewards just for qualifying and also for winning makes this a far to lucrative for change. Amateur athletes should reap benefits from their hard work. If they win a Gold medal then the marketing income and the "pro" circuit should open up to these athletes and a very good living can be made. After their amateur career is over. This is the way it was for years in all sports from track and field to figure skating.

  So again we see the fault belongs to tho two sets. The IOC and the advertising industry. The days when you got to say "I am going to Disneyland" as you were on the way to a photo shoot for the cover of the "Wheaties" Box are long gone. Now can we just find one athlete or coach or even dare we say corporation to stand up for the moral and literal meanings behind the Olympic Games. Stop allowing players to jump ship to other countries. Stop paying athletes to compete. It is and should be about the best Amateur Athletes. That is the foundation o the games and the intent behind them.

  As you have stated, after the games have ended, they could all join the Champions League. There would be plenty of room for players. If they were good enough to play in the games , they will be good enough to play for the professional league in their own country. This would benefit both the players and the corporations. All we can do is see what happens.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or