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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. geo91 - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    As if they’re not paid enough already

    • skids003 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      Not only that, just who does he think should pay him? Don’t give this administration any ideas, or it will be a bigger deficit than we have now.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        That might impinge on Republicans’ plans to start yet another war and reward pencil pushing bankers for all their hard (cough) work (cough)!

      • cosanostra71 - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        skids, don’t be ridiculous. Most basketball players of Olympian talent are multimillionaires, or “1%ers”. Obama would never pay them.

        He’d just give them tax breaks. He only pays multimillionaire dollar corporations, not people.

  2. smoothaswilkes - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I used to respect Ray Allen. What an ass I was for doing that.

    And he’s not even on the Olympic team now. What about every other Olympic athlete, Ray? Should they get paid too? Are they just commodities? Take your millions and STFU!

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Maybe he’s just bitter because he lost his starting job to Avery Bradley and the C’s are much better for it.

      • zacksdad - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Maybe he should be paid based on starting, how well he plays, and if he plays.

        At my job, my pay based on current performance.

        My job I only get paid when I actually work. If I get sick or hurt myself then I get sick pay and for extended time off then I get either SDI or workmen’s compensation depending on where I get hurt or sick.

        If under perform like Lamar Odom, I get laid off and do not get a fully guaranteed contract. I prefer how football does this and allows the team to actually rid themselves from players that just try during contract years.

        So until Basketball Players are treated more like normal workers, than maybe he can start to ask for other money normal workers get.

      • mornelithe - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        It’d be really funny if Bradley beat him out for a spot on the Olympic team too, not that I think Ray has any interest or intent on trying out for the squad (which should be readily apparent from his comments). But, if they were in such a situation, it’d be pretty humorous to see him lose the starting gig to Bradley, and his spot on the Olympic team as well.

        Either way, I’m sure any coach on the Olympic team would have no interest in Allen now, regardles of his stats. I wouldn’t want that kind of selfishness infecting the team.

  3. rob0527 - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Can u say volunteer. I understand it is a grind, especially if u go far in playoffs. Then take some time off before training camp. The Olympics r only a few weeks.

  4. mornelithe - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Normally I view Ray Allen as one of the better representatives of the game, however, in this regard all I see him as is greedy. You should _want_ to represent your country, and that motivation should be enough to get you to go get a Gold medal that’s almost a certainty every 4 years

  5. usavebob - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Amazing, if you aren’t up to the physical grind, then don’t play. And, to your point the media exposure is exceptional giving the entrepreneurial player many opportunities.

  6. sgm405 - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I was just thinking that we need to try to come up with ways to get guys like LeBron and Wade more money…

  7. giselleisasucubus - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Ray cares about money. The Celtics can offer him the most. Looks like we have a new guy in the 6th man of the year conversation next year.

  8. zxrated - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I can’t bash on Allen for his stance. Everyone calls him greedy but turns the other cheek as this country has outsourced jobs for the everyday American blue collar worker, in the name of globally cheaper labor.

    • rooney24 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      What does one thing have to do with the other??? Are you worried that our Olympic athlete spots are going to be outscored to 8 year olds from 3rd world countries?

  9. smiz17 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Look…out of the whole Boston roster…I respect Allen the most. But his thoughts on this are off based. I mean, I see what he is saying, but still off base.

    Being an Olympian is an honor, not a job. It is about representing your country and the athletic abilities of those within its borders.

    The incentive is there…the pay check is in the form of glory, honor, and pride and the ability to say “WE/I are the best on this planet”.

  10. fnc111 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    African American athletes don’t have respect for the USA. Just ask Josh Howard. You know the guy who said I’m black I don’t represent during the national anthem. The smart ones like Kobe shut up because they know by doing the Olympics they will be getting paid big bucks indirectly.

    • skids003 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Or go live in some other country if it’s so bad here.

    • dafranchise03 - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      really? If you want to judge the whole race cause of a few then we should all look at the hicks in this country.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        Hicks are ok. It’s pea-brained right wing white trash that’s a problem.

  11. giantssb42champs - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Way to go Ray. I didn’t realize the American flag was red, white and blue and GREEN.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      You must live under a rock!

  12. vols84 - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Of course he does

  13. BigBeachBall - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    His comments would have more weight if he was irreplaceable… team USA would have the same success in the Olympics with a handful of other shooting guards that could easily get the job done in his place… and they’d do it for free…

  14. obamablowz - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Hey Ray…..FLUCK YOU!!!!! I don’t want you wearing the U.S.A. on your chest after that comment.

  15. borderline1988 - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    While he’s not necessarily in the wrong for his stance regarding taking the Olympics off to rest his body after a deep playoff run (if he needs the rest, take it. Obviosuly the season takes a toll on these athletes’ bodies, especially the older ones). That being said, he’s an entitled idiot for saying ‘he should get paid’.

    What about all the other athletes in the Olympics? None of them get paid. The Olympics aren’t about money. It’s about national pride.

    If rest was so important for his body, than he wouldn’t take part in the Olympics, EVEN IF HE WAS PAID. The fact that he’d only go if he were paid shows that ultimately, he’s just too lazy to represent his country or doesn’t care for it, unless you pay him more money to play a game for a month than most people earn in their entire lifetime.
    Obviously this isn’t about rest, it’s about entitlement. Ray doesn’t like the thought of him being obligated to represent his country. Ray doesn’t owe anybody anything, unless you are willing to pay him the big bucks.

    • cosanostra71 - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      looks like Doug Collins wasn’t too far off with his comments the other day about modern athletes being entitled.

  16. buffalodave10 - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    As if the free ride isn’t enough Ray?

    You get paid in either Bronze, Silver, or Gold….

  17. emaimo80 - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Wow, I had a lot of respect for ray….till that comment

  18. tomtravis76 - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    The players should get a percentage from jersey ,poster, apparel, etc. They don’t need a ton of money, because you never want to get into having USA basketball having to negotiate with guys on pay. You do want players who want the honor of representing USA in the Olympics.

    Does Coach K get paid to be the HC?

  19. bozosforall - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Fluck Ray Allen. The USA doesn’t need greedy whiny jerks like him. Figures that he plays for the whinest fan base in the US.

  20. bjtmeyer - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    This is probably the most idiotic thing I have read in a while. You get an opportunity to play for and represent your country and you say this? Seriously? If you don’t like it don’t play. I’m here to support those who actually want to be there playing in honor of this country. I’m not here to support greedy douche bags.

  21. mikeewright7 - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Ray Allen is my favorite plaer, of all-time even i disagree on that comment, but hey its his life, his thoughts, i dont judge
    #TeamCeltics

  22. cosanostra71 - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Ray is playing the same amount of minutes coming off the bench as he did in the starting lineup, so he should stop complaining.

  23. david8726 - Apr 11, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    To everyone disagreeing with Ray Allen on this, I have a question for you –

    Why do you think it’s ok for business executives and other people responsible for making those Olympic jerseys to make a profit off of the jerseys that get sold, but it’s not ok for the players themselves to get a piece of that pie?

    I say either donate 100% of the profits from Olympic jersey sales to charities, or give the players some of those profits.

    • mornelithe - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      The only folks who should be making a profit during the Olympics are the citizens in and around the site, that has to put up with the tens if not hundreds of thousands of spectators. And that’s simply because increased customer’s = increased profit. Beyond that, money should never be the ultimate goal of the Olympics unless it’s raising funds for charity, or some other humanitarian effort.

      I think legislation should be made in the IOC, that prohibits all parties from simply sitting back and reaping profits, but committing two wrongs (paying players and allowing companies to reap profits over things like Jersey’s) doesn’t make a right.

  24. jagwar73 - Apr 11, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Former vet and America lover, but I’d rather lose with college or even high schoolers than pay these NBA players! Really Ray? Another example of athletes being so far out of touch with reality…

  25. astrosfan75956 - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Ray, nobody wants you to play for team USA anyway.

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