Dwyane Wade loves his country, but that doesn’t mean he thinks he should represent the United States for free. From ESPN:
“It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell,” Wade said after the Heat’s practice on Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s game against Chicago. “We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated. Just like I think college players should be compensated as well. Unfortunately, it’s not there. But I think it should be something, you know, there for it.”
Wade changed his tune once the quotes took off and zipped around the web. Ray Allen also said NBA players deserve compensation for working during summer vacation – but he hasn’t backed off his stance.
“You talk about the patriotism that guys should want to play for, but you [need to] find a way to entice the guys,” Allen was quoted as saying in the interview. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world if you play deep in the playoffs and then you get two, three weeks off and then you start training again to play more basketball, where it requires you to be away from home and in another country. It’s fun, but your body does need a break.”
As usual, the guy saying the least controversial thing is LeBron James. I’m sure it’s part of an act.
“I love representing my country, man,” James said. “I’ve done it since 2004 and I’m looking forward to doing it in London. As far as [pay], I don’t know, man. It doesn’t matter. I’m happy to be a part of the team, to be selected again.”
Wade later clarified his remarks, backing away form the Pay-4-Play stance.
“BUT my love 4 the game & pride 4 USA motivates me more than any $$$ amount. I repped my country in 2004 when we won the bronze medal and stood proudly to receive our gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. It’s always been an honor for me to be a part of the USA Olympic family…and I’m looking forward to doing it again in London this summer.”
The truth is, Wade and his peers would be dumb to turn it down. Forbes refuges that the NBA players are already compensated. There is not a lot of money in the decathlon, but the Olympics is usually the one chance an athlete has a chance to get some real publicity and maybe get some endorsement money. It’s safe to say that Michael Phelps wouldn’t be selling footlong sandwiches if not for the Olympics. There are only so many spots in the NBA and there are even fewer on the Olympic squad. This is an honor that means missing one summer every four years. For once, players should be normal athletes. [ESPN]