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By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) Should NBA players be paid to play in the Olympics?
As ridiculous as that question may sound to a lot of us common folk, current Team USA member and Chicago-native Dwyane Wade agrees with former Team USA member and current Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen that they should be.
Wade said, “It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics…a lot of jerseys you sell.”
He added, “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.”
Of course, he tried to backtrack from his previous statement via Twitter by saying that, “What I was referencing is there is a lot of Olympic business that happens that athletes are not a part of. BUT my love 4 the game & pride 4 USA motivates me more than any $$$ amount.”
Sure it does Dwyane.
Do you—and Ray Allen—not understand that EVERY NBA player that decides to play for Team USA does so VOLUNTARILY? You—and you alone–are giving up your free time in the offseason to play in the Summer Games. If you look at the Olympics as a burden, then don’t try out in the first place.
The Olympic Games is supposed to be about national pride.
No one–and I mean no one–forces any of these guys to try out for Team USA. These players are fully aware that it is a time commitment and that they won’t be compensated for their time. So, if players that feel the same way Wade and Allen do— not wanting to put their bodies through the rigors of an international tournament during their offseason for free–then simply don’t do it.
Did the original—and only TRUE—Dream Team whine and complain about not being paid to play in the Barcelona games back in 1992?
Playing for the United States and proving to the rest of the world that American basketball was the best in the world was all the compensation they needed.
Whatever happened to a little perspective?
At the end of the day, these guys are just playing a game. Meanwhile, there are men and women in the United States military that are putting their lives on the line each and every for what amounts to peanuts—monetarily speaking.
Do they do what they do for the money? No they don’t. And what our military personnel are doing for our country is much more important than what D. Wade, Ray Allen—and every other basketball player—do/did during the Olympics.
If anyone representing the United States in any capacity has the right to complain about money, it is the men and women of our military serving on the front lines protecting the freedoms of each and every one of us, not a couple of millionaire basketball players.
I never thought I would say this, but maybe Mr. Wade and Mr. Allen should listen to LeBron James to see what it means to be a member of Team USA.
James said, “I love representing my country, man. 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.”
NBA basketball stars—like Mr. Wade and Mr. Allen—have the chance to do something that the majority of us could only dream of doing by playing professionally in the NBA. They also have/had the chance to do something that the majority of us would kill to do by playing for the United States in the Olympics.
From the outside looking in, I would venture to say that current and former members of the NBA and Team USA have had it pretty good already.
It’s just too bad that some of them can’t seem to see that.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.