In a purely business sense, you can argue that guys from the USA Basketball team deserve a cut of the money they earn USA Basketball — they do generate a lot of money in jersey sales and they help drive some big ticket events.
But it’s a public relations disaster to ask for the money. As our Ira Winderman explained, it looks bad for multi-millionaire Dwyane Wade to say he should be paid for his time while he stands in the Opening Ceremonies next to a kayaker or wrestler or women’s field hockey player who also dedicated their lives to the sport, to reach this moment, and they make just enough to get by.
Which is why Wade was backtracking Thursday from his statements Wednesday (which were in response to what Ray Allen had said). He tweeted that pride motivates him more than money and also this statement to the media.
“I do not want to be paid to go to the Olympics.”
Speaking with the USA Today, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo explained why the hoopsters only get their stipend and nothing more.
“All of the money that is generated from our participation and the competitions the senior teams participate in in effect subsidizes and pays for the entire U.S. Olympic (basketball) programs and that includes all of the junior programs where most of these players came from,” Colangelo said. “Most of them all started there, men and women.”
“When I took over the program in 2005, they were in a terrible losing situation financially,” Colangelo said. “During the next four years, I quadrupled the revenue, but that only brought us to break even. That covers all of the expenses for the men, women, boys and girls, all the way down. We sell sponsorship, sell tickets to exhibition games.”
Basically, you are doing all this to keep USA Basketball going.
No matter what they think personally, you can bet no USA hoops player is going to say anything but they are happy to be there the rest of the way. These guys understand public relations, too.