Ray Allen — a guy with a gold medal at home but if he’s going to London this summer it is as a tourist — said yesterday that Olympians should be paid.
Dwyane Wade — Team USA’s leading scorer from 2008 who almost certainly will be part of Team USA this summer — agrees.
Here is what Wade told ESPN’s Michael Wallace.
“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….
“The biggest thing is now you get no rest,” Wade said. “So you go to the end of the 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.”
Wade’s point about jersey sales and money made off the players — plus the time the players are committing to the program — is a valid one. (Yes, players are paid a stipend/per diem, but like the NBA travel money it’s not that much to these guys in the scheme of things.)
As I said before, lets not pretend the players are completely altruistic here — they are building their brands and helping sell shoes on an international scale.
But the idea of the players getting a piece of Team USA jersey licensing, that seems fair to me.