Pay for Olympic play comes in all different forms
This might have been one of the great backtracks of all time.
A couple of days ago, Dwyane Wade suggests that perhaps it’d be a good idea that NBAers who play in the Olympics be compensated for their time; a few waves of discontent from the masses and he was a bit contrite yesterday.
As he probably should have been.
He already is as “compensated” as the rest of the Olympians who’ll be in London and have been in Games for about the last half century.
He, and the rest of the NBAers, are paid by their “sponsors” in almost the same way the hurdlers, rowers, jumpers and throwers are.
They get money to perform in a season – World Cup, world championship, NBA – by companies (sometimes it’s shoe or equipment companies taking care of athletes; sometimes it’s multi-millionaire owners of NBA teams) that allow them to play their games and ply their crafts to become the best in the world.
Look, I know it’s a shame that some of the Olympic athletes who dedicate themselves to training and competition subsist on a barely livable wage; I think more individuals and companies should help defray those costs, I do not think it’s the government’s job given the economic realities of the day.
I also think the fallacy that Olympic athletes are in any way amateur has been so blown out of the water it’s hardly worth bringing up. I would even suggest that some of the great Olympians – think Usain Bolt – might make more money in a year than a large percentage of professional basketball players.
But, sure, if there’s a bonus system in place where Olympic national committees or even governments or sport governing bodies reward medals with cash, by all means let the NBA guys get in it. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
But extra pay for the few weeks it takes to training and play in the Games? I don’t think so. I think the lifestyle they are afforded – and you can’t begin to imagine the luxury – while they prepare is good enough.
I’m sure someone might have gotten to Wade after his first comment and played either on the patriotism angle – you should be happy to represent your country – or the business angle – look, you make hundreds of thousands of dollars in ancillary salary for simply being on the team – and he wisely had a change of heart.
I don’t even like the pucks all that much and couldn’t name four players on the team – two Sedins and the Luongo dude I could get – yet I hate the Vancouver Canucks, too.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame weekend, I hear.
And since I don’t know what a Hurdy Gurdy Man is, and Mellow Yellow’s too cliché …
Wanna know what Jonas Valunciunas is up to?
FIBA’s got a little piece on the EuroCup finals that go this weekend in Russia and the soon-to-be Raptor is in there, as he usually is.
There are no real plans for Valanciunas with the Raptors this year; I do know they plan to bring him over for a little orientation time in the next couple of months where he can meet some people, catch up with his coaches, get used to the surroundings. But then he’s all Lithuania’s as they get ready to try and qualify for the London Games.
Since the kid’s been going almost non-stop for more than a year with the under-19 worlds, the Eurobasket, the Lithuanian domestic league, a handful of Cup competitions and the final Olympic qualifier and perhaps the Games themselves, I’m thinking he’s going to need a nice, long rest in late August and September before camp.
Didn’t we just have a Friday The 13th?
I don’t know Freddy from Jason from some other ax-wielding murderer; heck, I don’t even think I saw the Texas Chainsaw Massacre when it was originally released in my youth.
Anyway, if you see a black cat today, pick it up, step on a crack in the sidewalk on your way to walk under a ladder.
Go ahead, tempt Fate. Fate’s cool with that.
Mail? Please. Final plea. Have this afternoon free so time to answer questions.
Do. It. Here.
So, 59 down and seven to go. Fourteen halves. Twenty-eight quarters. If I could do math or find the calculator on here I’d tell you how many minutes.
So, what to expect?
Well, since we have no idea who’s playing – I’m betting no Bargnani or Kleiza tonight, can’t guess on Jose – the word we’re getting from Dwane is what he wants to see is effort, and the results aren’t nearly as important.
Sure, it’s been that way all year but now it’s even more telling. If guys loaf during the final few games, if they go off half-cocked and try to get theirs at the expense of doing what’s right and needed at any point in a game, it tells the coaches – and us – all about them.
This is the time when professionals have to be professional, there are ticket buyers in the stands who are deserving of the best effort they can get.
One other point Dwane brought up yesterday is really worth remembering.
For guys with uncertain futures, the auditions that are going on aren’t just for the Raptors, they are being held for 29 other general managers.
Trust me, teams are looking all around the league now, even at teams with nothing truly to play for, as they try to find out who’s got what as the summer approaches.