Dubai: Coach of the Duke University basketball side Mike Krzyzewski has said he doesn't think the NBA lockout will affect the nation's chances of defending their gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Coach K, as he's better known, was in Dubai with his Duke University side facing the UAE national team on Thursday night. The match ended 86-66 in favour of the visitors.
From the sidelines of that match the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist winning coach spoke to allay the fears of US basketball fans in light of an ongoing NBA lockout prompted by league financial reforms suggesting salary caps and pay cuts as the structure struggles to curb $300 million annual losses.
The move has yet to find favour with the player's union over how best to share four billion dollar annual revenue.
Aged 64, this is the fourth such lockout not only in Coach K's lifetime but also the league's 65-year history, and he doesn't think it can take with it a whole year of action - losing the country one billion dollars in ticket revenue alone.
Coach K told Gulf News: "I don't foresee them losing a whole season (due to the labour dispute). I don't think the NBA can afford to do that. To lose all that interest you have to be cognisant to what's going on with your fans.
"The NBA had an unbelievable season last year, to have a complete lockout for an entire season doesn't seem possible. So I think they'll play some of the season and it won't have any impact."
Speaking of his Olympic team, Coach K added: "I hope there's at least some part of a season then it won't have any affect. In fact it would make our team fresher because they don't have to play an entire NBA season. If they have any part of a season they'll be fine. If there wasn't an NBA season then it's a matter of insurance and who will play. But we'll tackle that later on."
"There's no sense of urgency on our part - the US and Great Britain are the only two to have qualified. The rest of the countries are trying for the final ten spots."
Asked if league disruption jeopardizes his medal, Coach K said: "We have a gold medal, we want another one. We won't give up the one we have. It's not our gold medal it has to be earned.
"If we think its ours a lot of times when you think that way you never get it. We've got to earn the next one, but we'll keep the last one that's ours to have."