International basketball voted Friday to allow professional players into the Olympics, a move that will permit the United States to use the stars of the National Basketball Association for the first time in 1992.
At a special session in Munich's Olympic Stadium, delegates voted 55-15 to drop the restriction on professionals. A Soviet proposal to limit each national team to two pros was turned down by the same margin. The vote was secret and it was not known how various nations voted.On Thursday, the head of the USA Amateur Basketball Association, David Gavitt, said having the pros in the games would guarantee a U.S. gold medal in Barcelona. He welcomed the vote, telling the delegates it was needed in "this new worldwide era."
Friday's decision means that after years of complaining that amateur-only rules deprived it of its best players at Olympic time, the nation that invented basketball a century ago at last will be able to call upon its biggest stars, whether they play for the Utah Jazz or McNeese State.