Ever since professional basketball players from the NBA were allowed to compete in the Olympics, a lot of players from this country like Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers have taken a lot of pride in wearing the Team USA uniform. Not only have Kobe and Magic played for Team USA and won gold medals in the process, but they did it without being paid.
According to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida, 2000 Gold Medal winner and current Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen believes that playing in the Olympics is something that players from the NBA should be getting paid for:
“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. “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.
“Everybody says, ‘Play for your country.’ But (NBA players are) commodities, your businesses. You think about it, you do camps in the summer, you have various opportunities to make money. When you go overseas and play basketball, you lose those opportunities, what you may make… If I’m an accountant and I get outsourced by my firm, I’m going to make some money somewhere else.”
Even though some people may think that Ray Allen is coming off as selfish here, basketball is a business for many players in the NBA, and a few years in the league and sacrificing time and wear and tear on the body is a price to pay.
The one thing that Allen fails to see is the rewards of playing overseas with different financial opportunities that NBA players wouldn’t get in the United States. Shoes deals and other international brands look to capitalize on NBA players when they head overseas, so there is still money to be made.
In the upcoming Olympics in London, England, Kobe Bryant will once again be playing for his country to try and win his second Gold Medal alongside the likes of LeBron James and Derrick Rose. Spain will likely be Team USA’s toughest competition once again with Pau Gasol and brother Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) headlining a talented frontcourt for the Spaniards.