clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


NBA stars will participate in the Olympics for the first time because the basketball establishment wants the Games to have the best players in the world.

Disputes over who will profit from their participation ultimately could drive NBA players away and return the Games to collegians.Michael Jordan, the NBA's biggest superstar, still plans to play for the U.S. Olympic team at Barcelona this summer, but says he will back out if it is determined that the NBA will profit from having his image emblazoned on Olympic paraphernalia.

Jordan would not be opposed to the NBA's recouping its expenses, but questions whether the NBA would participate in the Olympics without the prospect of making money.

"It's a business, isn't it?" Jordan said.

Since the Olympic team members are playing for free, Jordan suggests the NBA shouldn't profit from their participation.

"If no one makes any money off this, that's the way it should be," Jordan said. "There's no compromise on this. I want to play, but I have to know where all the money is going. The way they've presented this is to accept the rules or resign."

Jordan said Wednesday night that the ball is now in Nike's court over his likeness on Olympic T-shirts.

After meeting with his agent, David Falk, Jordan said the crux of the issue remains whether Nike, which controls rights to the use of his image on clothing, will allow it to be reproduced on the T-shirts with those of other team members.

"If they waive the rights to allow the image to be used as a group, there won't be a problem," he said. "But right now, Nike hasn't agreed."

Jordan said a proposal by USA Basketball has gone to Nike and that a resolution should be reached by Monday or Tuesday. He feels his status as a member of the Olympic team should not be affected.