Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Steve Ballmer, celebrating Clippers’ win, shocks son (video)

    Oct 31, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT

    Clippers owner continues to go crazy while watching games

  2. David Blatt admits he flubbed Cavaliers’ rotation against Knicks

    Oct 31, 2014, 9:53 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    New coach didn’t give reserves enough playing time in Cleveland’s opener

  3. LeBron James’ powder toss returns to Cleveland (VIDEO)

    Oct 31, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Pregame rituals were really the best part of the game for Cavs fans.

  4. Josh Smith responds to Kenneth Faried, calls him ‘a clown’

    Oct 31, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets vs Detroit Pistons Denver Nuggets vs Detroit Pistons

    Faried said Smith shot his team out of the game after the Nuggets beat the Pistons.

  5. Thunder’s Russell Westbrook fractures hand, likely out 4-6 weeks

    Oct 31, 2014, 2:14 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    There is no official timetable for his return, but we are likely talking 6 weeks or more he is out.

  6. Larry Brown on Sixers tanking/rebuilding: “It makes me sick”

    Oct 30, 2014, 7:42 PM EDT

    Larry Brown Larry Brown

    The Sixers CEO fired back, but taking on a Hall of Fame coach isn’t usually wise.

  7. J.R. Smith hints Knicks quit vs. Bulls, Phil Jackson says team not ready for “Showtime”

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks

    It’s going to be a rough transition for the Knicks. New Yorkers have to be patient (not always their strong suit).

  8. Report: Cavaliers, Anderson Varejao near three-year, $30 million extension

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    It’s a sign Dan Gilbert is pulling out the checkbook to spend.

Featured video

The list of championship contenders
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Leonard (6506)
  2. B. Lopez (6481)
  3. C. Frye (6270)
  4. V. Oladipo (6256)
  5. L. Sanders (6199)