Olympics: FIBA shoots down NBA's under-23 idea for Rio

World governing body FIBA shot down the notion of turning Olympic men's basketball into an under-23 event like Games football for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Saturday.

"My feeling is that we will not be proposing a 23 age limit for the 2016 Olympic Games," FIBA general secretary Patrick Baumann said.

NBA club owners fear injuries to their star players, more and more of them playing for their homelands in the Olympics as the sport grows globally, and hoped to boost the profile of rising young stars with the 23-and-under plan.

"We understand the owners' concerns," Baumann said. "We want to keep the strength of the Olympics and ensure that basketball remains a hot spot at the Games."

NBA owners also fear the impact of so many extra matches on players outside NBA competition each season, with world championships and continental qualifiers more and more eating into the star players' time off from the NBA.

"We want to tackle this wear-and-tear aspect that the owners and the NBA are putting on the table through their under-23 idea and others," Baumann said.

"For us, it will still be about trying to find a way to serve everybody's purpose as best possible. We will ask for changes and we will have discussions with the IOC and NBA."

FIBA does plan to move its 3-point arc further from the basket to the same distance as the NBA uses, but "whether it happens for the next Olympics, I don't know," Baumann said.

One move FIBA will make is to move its re-named world championship World Cup to a year where it is not played in the same year as the football FIFA World Cup.

The event that would now come in 2018 would be delayed to 2019 but replace regional paths to the Olympics.

"It becomes the main qualifier for the Olympic Games in 2020," Baumann said. "It won't be regional qualifiers that qualify. It will be the World Cup."

But that will leave European officials unhappy and in a quandry what to do with their biennial European championships.

"If the view between us and the NBA is that the World Cup is better positioned in a year off the FIFA World Cup, then immediately you have to abandon the idea of having two EuroBaskets, unless you play in the year of the FIFA World Cup and the year of the Olympic Games," Baumann warned.

Baumann said he would propose that 3-on-3 basketball be added to the Rio Olympics lineup and that in the regular 5-on-5 Olympic event, the field be boosted from 12 to 16 nations starting in 2016.

"We would have a slightly shorter competition with four groups of four," Baumann said.


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