The 2011-2012 NBA season is in jeopardy, but never fear we will see basketball next year. Lebron James recently announced that irregardless of the labor situation he will be in London this summer to represent the USA in the summer Olympics. Will others follow suit?
If you look at the roster it's a no brainer. Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade are all endorsed by Nike while Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony represent the Jordan logo. Nike will not miss the chance to showcase their top earners.
Kevin Durant will undoubtedly take Tayshaun Prince's spot and Derrick Rose will replace the aging Jason Kidd. The two most promising young stars won't miss the opportunity to perform on the world's biggest stage.
Although the NBA controls USA basketball it's in their best interest to send our best players from a marketing standpoint. The league fancies itself a global phenomenon and with the whole world watching they can't afford to come up short.
In addition, the corporate entities that really control basketball won't allow it. At a time when everyone is claiming they are losing money the 2012 summer Olympics is a cash cow. With the USA almost guaranteed a spot in the gold medal game the exposure these companies can generate is huge. From the lighting of the torch to the closing ceremonies billions of people will be watching.
The Lebron James announcement is an indication of what's important to NBA players. Their priorities are with their employers. All of them. The NBA franchises that hold their rights are just one part of their revenue stream. They also have to answer to the makers of the products they endorse. That partnership is bigger than David Stern and his crybaby owners. See you in London this summer. Cheerio.