EDITORIAL: Olympic experience should be enough for basketball star
There are less than 100 days until the start of the 2012 Olympics in London, but instead of looking forward to representing the United States men's basketball team for the third consecutive Olympiad, NBA star Dwyane Wade made comments last week about the lack of pay for Olympic athletes.
"We play the whole summer," Wade said. "I do think guys should be compensated. The biggest thing is, now, you get no rest. So you go to the end of the (NBA) season, (Team USA) training camp is two weeks later. You're giving up a lot to do it. It's something you want to do. But it's taxing on your body. You're not playing for the dollar. But it would be nice if you would get compensated."
No, Olympic athletes aren't playing for the money; they play to be recognized as one of the best at what they do while representing their country to the best of their ability on the world's grandest athletic stage.
That's all that should be asked for. Olympic medals are nice, but even the countries that don't win medals still feel national pride.
It's discouraging to say the least that Wade can't be satisfied with simply being an Olympic athlete - an honor only 12 basketball players get every four years.
Also, with how shortened the NBA season was this year due to the lockout, playing the entire summer should not be as taxing on the athletes' bodies as it has been after full NBA seasons.
Wade's salary from the Miami Heat this season is just less than $16 million; if he's not financially stable from that, he's got some priorities to rearrange.
Wade said he'd like to see players get money from their Olympic jersey sales, which would be unfair to the other U.S. athletes who don't play sports where jerseys can be bought, like swimming or track.
Even LeBron James, Wade's Heat teammate and fellow Olympian, disagreed with Wade's statements.
"I love representing my country," 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. It doesn't matter. I'm happy to be a part of the team, to be selected again."
Who would have thought LeBron James would ever be a voice of reason?
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