Jul 30, 2012, 10:31 AM EST
Wade backtracked soon after, because you can’t win that PR battle. Not when you march into Opening Ceremonies next to a wrestler or table tennis player who has given up so much financially and otherwise just to be there.
“There’s some truth to that,” Bryant said (of the team getting paid). “But we’re all here because we enjoy playing. Even though a lot of us probably share the same opinion, it’s not like we’re saying, ‘Well, we’re not going to play if you don’t pay us.’ We play. We do it because we want to.”
Players are paid a stipend/per diem, but like the NBA travel money it’s not that much to these guys.
Kobe couched his comment in the “we would do it anyway” mentality. But the fact is — and this is part of what eats at Mark Cuban and the owners — that Team USA helps the Olympics and USA Basketball generate a whole lot of money. They are sold, from jerseys to television rights. And unlike their NBA salaries, they do not see a dime of it. So you can make a capitalistic argument if you want.
But you cannot win the PR battle. That’s a dead end street. Not when a lot of athletes there make financial sacrifices to play. Not when you are playing for your country (and don’t need the money anyway).
Besides, these games help promote the international brands of Kobe, LeBron James and others. If they are going to be paid, have Nike do it, because they are the ones that sell more shoes in China and around the globe because of having NBA players on this stage.
- Mike D’Antoni: Chances “pretty good” Kobe plays Sunday 0
- Report: Rockets stepping up efforts to move Omer Asik 6
- Rumor: Carmelo Anthony recruiting Rajon Rondo to come to New York in 2015 7
- Report: Heat shopping Joel Anthony, seeking depth behind Wade 14
- LeBron not wearing new LeBron 11s, Nike “redefining” shoe for him 11
- LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he? (64)
- Michael Beasley finding a role, groove in Miami (43)
- The Extra Pass: Our awards at the quarter pole, plus Monday recaps (42)
- Dwight Howard frustrated with Rockets’ effort in recent losses (40)
- Kobe Bryant dunks, looks good in Lakers practice; Friday return possible (38)