BASKETBALL — 18 July 2012

NBA commissioner David Stern has expressed his desire to implement a 23 and under age restriction for NBA players participating in the Olympic Games.

The restriction would allow 3 over-age players on the roster, the rest of the roster must be 23 years of age and under.

Kobe Bryant openly voiced his dismay with this new concept on Tuesday when Team USA arrived in the United Kingdom for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“It’s a stupid idea,” Bryant told local reporters. “It should be a player’s choice.”

He has discussed David Stern‘s proposal with his fellow Team USA teammates and said: “Our discussion is this: Basically, it’s just a dumb idea and we (discuss) it that way. … We just discuss it like that (and) kind of voice our opinions through you (media) guys.”

The Los Angeles Times quoted Bryant as saying, “I think that’s the wrong way to look at things. If I’m an owner, I would want my player to play (internationally) because I understand that they’re going to be playing anyway, going to be playing pickup basketball in the summertime, and I’m not going to be able to know where they are. They could be playing against a bunch of bums — no, really — guys that feel like they have something to prove and all of a sudden, a (star player) goes to the rim and a guy takes them out and now he’s hurt.

“Here you’re playing against the best guys, you have treatment around the clock, your (NBA) coaching staff can always come sit in the stands and view practice. To me, playing on an Olympic basketball team is actually better if you’re an owner.”

Do you think they should implement an age restriction for Team USA? Tell us what you think on Twitter @EliteSportsBlog

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