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Ray Allen thinks guys should be paid to play in Olympics

Apr 11, 2012, 11:23 AM EDT

Ray Allen Team USA.

This summer, the best basketball players on the planet will put aside their team loyalties and put on their national team jerseys and play in the 2012 London Olympics. They do it for their country and for pride. It is one of the great international showcases of basketball.

Ray Allen thinks guys should get paid to do it.

Allen, who has a gold medal from the 2000 games in Sydney, said this to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida.

“You talk about the patriotism that guys should want to play for, but you (need to) find a way to entice the guys,” Allen said. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world if you play deep in the playoffs and then you get two, three weeks off and then you start training again to play more basketball where it requires you to be away from home and in another country. It’s fun, but your body does need a break.

“Everybody says, ‘Play for your country.’ But (NBA players are) commodities, your businesses. You think about it, you do camps in the summer, you have various opportunities to make money. When you go overseas and play basketball, you lose those opportunities, what you may make… If I’m an accountant and I get outsourced by my firm, I’m going to make some money somewhere else.”

I think Allen misses the mark here because there is a huge financial incentive for the top guys — it’s about international brands and shoe sales. Allen is spot on with his premise that NBA players are commodities in the eyes of teams, but they are also their own brand if a guy is a smart businessman.

For Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and others these upcoming London Olympics are huge international basketball stage where people in China and India and potential shoe customers around the globe will be watching. It’s about promoting the brand — both themselves and Nike and Adidas. It’s about being seen as a gold medal winner (which is not going to be all that easy) and the prestige that brings to the brand.

It’s about selling shoes. And national pride.

Guys do not get paid directly, and I appreciate what Allen is saying about rest and time to do things in the community, putting on camps and the like. But don’t think money isn’t part of the equation. It’s cool again to play for Team USA (it wasn’t for a while) and what it means to shoe companies fuels part of that.

  1. abchome - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    He better shuts up! He has good basketball skills but apparently not a good brain.

  2. florida727 - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Hey Ray, are you REALLY that much of a money-grabbing whore? You’ve already made more than $178 MILLION in your career (source: basketballreference.com). And you want MORE? I’ll now choose to root for Ray Allen to miss every shot he takes for the remainder of his career. You, Ray, are the anti-patriot. I hope you’re never again given the honor of wearing the letters “USA” across your chest. Besides, America doesn’t need you. I’d take my chances with Kentucky’s top six players and rounding them out with other college All-AMERICANS, rather than put an idiot like Ray Allen out there representing our country.

  3. deepizzaguy - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Ray Allen is just plain crazy. Playing for your country is priceless in the Olympics.

  4. dexterismyhero - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    #1 he shouldn’t even be an Olympian and #2 is not they shouldn’t be paid. Frigging idiots.

  5. rickb56 - Apr 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Ray Allen is the definition of moron…look in Wikipedia, his picture is there.

    Hate to tell ya pal, but when you play for your country, you do it for pride. You represent your country, free of charge…Bird did it, Magic did it, Jordan did it. And you think you’re better than they are? Hate to tell ya, but you’re not. Plain and simple.

    If you get the offer to play for the USA..do America a favor, and decline it. You MAY be able to save face, but I sincerely doubt it.

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