Only Kobe might be able to get away with using the word "stupid" and his boss in the same sentence.
If Stern's plan becomes reality, the London games might be the last time America would be represented by the NBA's best players.
The notion doesn't make sense now because it's difficult to unring the bell.
If Team USA lost a gold-medal game after this change, the NBA reinforcements of all ages would be back, ASAP.
For all their skill and talent, the U.S. is vulnerable against international teams that also have NBA stars.
After the pros were allowed to play in 1989, the Americans won four consecutive gold medals before falling to Argentina in 2004. And thus began Jerry Colangelo's plan to organize and mobilize NBA players, asking them for a long commitment — and the Redeem Team recaptured gold in 2008.
You can understand why Colangelo isn't a fan of the commissioner's suggestion.
"I don't want to change anything because I like what we have," Colangelo told the Los Angeles Times. "We take care of our players, and I think we do the right things."
In a 23-and-younger plan, three overage players would be allowed to compete per country — a format used in soccer.
Imagine having to pick just three 23-and-older players for 2016 from this group: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook.
"It's a stupid idea," Bryant said. "It should be a [player's] choice. Our discussion is this: Basically, it's just a dumb idea, and we discuss it that way."
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has long been opposed to sending NBA stars to the Olympics after a long NBA season, fearing injury to players.
But Bryant counters the concerns of Cuban and other owners by saying that NBA players play pickup games in the off-season anyway.
"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," Bryant said. "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's the other thing: Why kill the passion of patriotism that stars such as Kobe and others have displayed for the Olympics?
We often grouse about the money and motivation of NBA stars, but the Olympics has brought out the best in them. Don't lock them out — at any age.
With the Lakers trying to corral Dwight Howard, former Lakers GM Jerry West recalls the excruciating experience in landing another Magic center — Shaquille O'Neal — in the summer of 1996. West said he ended up in the hospital.
"When the fruition of it came, I was exhausted," West told the Los Angeles Times. "I had to go to the hospital. I don't sleep a lot anyway and have a very inquisitive mind. When you're like that, it creates more problems for you."
The Magic lost sleep, too. They believed back then that the Lakers had tampered with Shaq, given how West was suddenly wheeling and dealing to absorb Shaq's $120 million contract.
According to the Times, West said he was so upset upon hearing the league was looking into the charge that he skipped the 1997 NBA All-Star weekend.
Magic class of 2009
With the club obviously in a rebuild, memories of the Magic's 2009 Finals team leads me to this "Where Are They Now?" segment:
•C Dwight Howard: Estranged, in the news more than Lady Gaga.
•PG Jameer Nelson: Re-signed with Magic this summer, one of four '09 holdovers.
•SG J.J. Redick: Magic guaranteed last year of contract.
•SF Hedo Turkoglu: Traded by Magic, traded back to Magic and on block again.
•PF Rashard Lewis: Traded to Wizards, bought out by Hornets, signed with Heat.
•PG Rafer Alston: Skip played in New Jersey, Miami, China and D-League, and coached Humble, Texas, high-school team.
•SG Mickael Pietrus: Currently a free agent. Last stop: Boston.
•SG Courtney Lee: Signed with Celtics as a free agent.
•C Marcin Gortat: Flourishing in Phoenix as starting center.
•PG Anthony Johnson: Hoping to land coaching gig.
•PG Tyronn Lue: Assistant coach with Celtics.
•C Adonal Foyle: Fired by Magic as player-development director.
•SG Jeremy Richardson: Played for 76ers' summer-league team.
•PF-C Tony Battie: Currently a free-agent center. Last stop: Sixers.
•Coach Stan Van Gundy: Fired, living in Lake Mary.
This 'n' that
Laughed San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, regarding the negotiations with free agent Tim Duncan: "He was just as big a pain in the neck as he was when he almost went to Orlando." Duncan visited the Magic as a free agent in the summer of 1999 but re-signed with the Spurs. ... Nets C Brook Lopez said he isn't sure he would have agreed to a sign-and-trade that might have completed a Dwight Howard deal to Orlando. Regarding the trade rumors, Lopez said, "I don't read a lot of the stuff you guys write. I read a lot of comic books, and they don't mention Dwight Howard much." … Grant Hill's a Clipper. Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012 after all.
email@example.com. Brian's eBook, "Dwightmare: Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic and the Season of Dysfunction," is available at all major online bookstores.