NBA players seem focused on the money, not the glory

NBA players seem focused on the money, not the glory

by April Sigmund

Why would anyone want to participate in the Olympics?

Representing your country in one of the most honorable, most privileged ways—it’s totally overrated. You’d have to pay me big to do that.

When asked in a recent interview if he had any interest in competing in the Olympics, NBA basketball player Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics responded, “No, I don’t. I just don’t… I love my summers. I’ll leave it at that.”

Yeah, nothing could ruin a summer more than competing in the Olympic Games.

Ray Allen, a teammate of Rondo’s, helped Team USA to Olympic gold in 2000. While he says he’s glad to have won, he was unsure whether he would participate again if asked.

“You talk about the patriotism that guys should want to play for, but you (need to) find a way to entice the guys,” Allen said.

He pointed out that some players have only a couple weeks in between their playoff season and training for the Olympics. While the experience is fun, he says, your body does need a break.

Allen also pointed out that when players go overseas, they lose opportunities to make money.

Because they definitely don’t make enough.

Allen does have a point in saying companies like Nike, who sponsor the players, as well as those who sell jerseys and other merchandise at the games, continue making money off of the players.

Furthermore, tickets for seats to watch Team USA in action can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars, so do those who provide the entertainment deserve compensation?

On the other hand, shouldn’t representing your country at the Olympics be rewarding enough? Yes you’re tired, yes it’s a huge time commitment, yes large corporations are reaping all financial rewards, but the Olympic Games should a rewarding experience no amount of money can match.

Many have pointed out that for past Team USA players, compensation has never been desired. The honor and privilege of the opportunity is more than enough.

Is this just another example of our generation’s self-centeredness and greed?

And what about the other athletes who train their whole lives for the Olympics, and aren’t already making millions like these NBA players?

Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat agreed with Allen. “It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics—a lot of jerseys you sell. We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated.”

The two mentioned jerseys as a way to pay for the athletes. Wade makes around $14 million a year, not including sponsorships.

Wade points out that players spend about 40 days playing and training for Team USA. “It’s something that you want to do. But it’s taxing on your body. It’s an honor to play in the Olympics, but there are a lot of things you do for the Olympics. A lot of jerseys you sell.”

And really, what can cure a tired body better than a couple thousand dollars? It’s just what the doctor ordered.

Wade later said he was simply responding to a question about Olympians receiving payment and never said he needed payment to play. He tweeted that pride for his country motivated him more than any amount of money.