(ATR) The world’s best men’s basketball players could be absent from the Tokyo Olympics next summer.
Argentina and the USA have already qualified for Tokyo 2020. (Panam Sports)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted on CNN
on Tuesday that the league would “be better off” waiting until January to begin the new season. Since the NBA wants to play a normal 82-game season and playoffs, that would mean the regular season could end in June or July with the two-month postseason running into August or September.
The Olympic men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to be held from July 25 to August 7 in Tokyo.
In theory, those players whose teams either fail to make the playoffs or get knocked out in the early stages of the postseason could travel to Japan and join their national teams at some point during the Olympics. But a 14-day quarantine for arriving athletes that is expected to be in place for Tokyo 2020 could limit the viability of that scenario.
NBA players would likely also not be available for national duty for four Olympic qualifying tournaments scheduled from June 29 to July 4. The winners of each tournament would join Argentina, Australia, France, Iran, Nigeria, Spain, the USA and hosts Japan to complete the 12-team field.
Among the teams that are still trying to qualify, it would appear Greece, without two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo and Serbia, without All-NBA center Nikola Jokic, face the biggest personnel losses should NBA players not be available.
Global Esports Fed Adds Three IFs
World Karate Federation, Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), and International Canoe Federation are the latest IFs to become members of the Global Esports Federation.
(Global Esports Federation)
“The addition of new International Federation members is testament to the vital work the Global Esports Federation has put in to develop the community and facilitating the convergence of esports, sport, technology and innovation,” Chris Chan, Global Esports Federation president, said in a statement.
“We anticipate greater collaboration among our members and partners in developing initiatives that are in service to the esports community through our #worldconnected platform.”
WKF president Antonio Espinós said “By working with key partners such as the GEF, we enable digital transformation for the sport to reach out to a larger audience globally. This is the first of a good deal of exciting news to come regarding karate and esports.”
“UIPM is committed to innovation – in the spirit of the founder of Modern Pentathlon, Baron Pierre de Coubertin – and to making our sports appeal to younger generations,” said UIPM president Klaus Schormann.
ICF president José Perurena added “The opportunities to elevate a physical sport with technology is boundless and is limited only by the imagination. We look forward to embracing esports as a new frontier to evolve the sport and appeal to an even wider audience globally.”
There are now eight IFs that are also GEF members.
IJF Drops Tokyo Grand Slam Event in December
The Tokyo Grand Slam is no longer a part of the upcoming International Judo Federation calendar.
The IJF announced on Wednesday that the event, scheduled for December in the Japanese capital, was cancelled.
“In light of the continued uncertainty still existing around the Covid-19 pandemic, along with considering the fact that Japan is the hosting country of the Olympic Games, the IJF needs to be extra cautious when planning events in Japan,” the IJF statement read.
The IJF says it is proceeding with other events, including the Budapest Grand Slam at the end of October. A final decision will be made at the beginning of October, pending the approval of the Hungarian government.
Other competitions that are still a go for the beginning of 2021 include the Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia and the World Judo Masters in Qatar.
Written by Gerard Farek
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