Argentina's Manu Ginobili on Thursday added his voice to the chorus of players lamenting a possible move to put an age limit on playing in the Olympics.
The 2014 world championships in Spain have been renamed the World Cup and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) appears poised to try and pattern the Olympic tournament after the soccer model with under-23 teams and three age exceptions, leaving fully-fledged national teams to battle in the World Cup.
"If I think about it selfishly, I don't care. I am done, almost for sure. But it would be disappointing," said 35-year-old Ginobili, who is playing in his third Olympics after earning gold at the 2004 Athens Games and a bronze medal in Beijing.
"But it would be disappointing. If I was 24 right now, I would be crying in the corner that I wouldn't have this opportunity in my life.
"It's something that I wish every athlete can be part of because it's amazing. It's a wonderful experience and I'm so proud for having played in three of them. It is one of the highlights of my career."
U.S. team members Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, among many others, have also spoken out against the idea.
"It would be sad if somebody that is now 23, 22 in four years is going to be (too) old to play in the Olympics and couldn't do it," said Ginobili, who has also won three NBA titles during his 10-year career with the San Antonio Spurs.
Ginobili has been part of a proud Argentina team that came together more than a decade ago, inspired by NBA stars who brought the highest level of basketball to the Olympics 20 years ago in Barcelona as the Dream Team.
"When I was a kid I didn't even dream of playing in the NBA. Nobody ever from Argentina played when I was 10," Ginobili said after scoring 24 points to lead his country to a 92-69 victory over Tunisia to improve their record to 2-1.
"Then, slowly, the NBA started to open their gates. A lot of players started to come out and we started to feel more confident.
"When I was a kid I was watching MJ's (Michael Jordan) tapes and thinking he was from another planet. Something unreachable, untouchable. The same thing as Charles Barkley and Magic (Johnson) and Larry (Bird) and then I found myself 15 years later raising the same trophy they did. It was an unbelievable story."
Ginobili and his team mates showed the world that a U.S. team of NBA stars could be beaten. Argentina became the first country to defeat a U.S. squad comprised of NBA players during the 2002 world championships on U.S. soil in Indianapolis.
Two years later Ginobili and Argentina beat the U.S. Olympic team in the semi-finals on their way to Athens gold.
"I'm very lucky," said Ginobili, who has found stability and success both with his national team and in his NBA career.
Ginobili said he had been blessed in basketball, and hoped players following in his path could experience the Olympics.
"I'm incredibly proud of what we accomplished"