Colangelo says paying Olympians not feasible

BY foxsports • April 11, 2012

Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen believe NBA players should be paid for
participating in the Olympics. But it's not going to happen anytime
soon.

At least that's the word from USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

"It's never been discussed and it's not even feasible in the reality of economics," Colangelo said by phone Wednesday night.

Allen,
who won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, told FOX Sports Florida on
Tuesday he believes NBA Olympians should be paid. Wade, who won bronze
in the 2004 Olympics and gold in 2008 and is expected to be on this
year's team in London, said Wednesday he agrees with Allen.

"From
what I was told by people at USA Basketball, Ray Allen has been
consistent with his position ever since he played in 2000, and I am
aware of what Dwyane said," said Colangelo, who revealed that USA
Basketball plans to announce the 12-man team around June 1. "First of
all, everybody's entitled to his opinion, and I respect everybody's
opinion, but the reality of what USA Basketball is all about is that the
senior men's team (with NBA players) supports all the other programs in
USA Basketball."

Both Allen and Wade suggested that money to
compensate players could come from Olympic jersey sales. However,
Colangelo said any money USA Basketball gets from jerseys, which are
made by Nike, is among the revenue that goes to all the other programs.
Those programs include all the women's teams, including for the Olympics
and World Championship teams, and all the men's teams for younger
players, which have featured many of the NBA players now with USA
Basketball.

Colangelo said USA Basketball doesn't get any subsidies from the government and it was losing money when he took over in 2005. Through sponsorships, he said revenue since has increased from $9 million to $34 million annually, and it now breaks even.

Beyond the economics,
Colangelo made the point that NBA players in the Olympics are given a
unique forum that can result in them reaching a global audience.

"Everybody
acknowledges that it is a privilege to represent your country,"
Colangelo said. "There are some other benefits from the standpoint that
(the players) all have shoe contracts and apparel contracts and we are
living in a global economy. They spend time traveling around the world
and promoting their product (while with USA Basketball) and it's a
perfect platform for them, the World Championships and the Olympics. So
it's a privilege to represent your country and there are some amazing
financial benefits."

Since Colangelo came to USA Basketball in
2005, the American men have won bronze in the 2006 World Championshps,
gold in the 2008 Olympics and gold in the 2010 World Championships. They
are favored to win another gold in London.

Colangelo said he
will have a meeting May 1 in Las Vegas with Team USA Coach Mike
Krzyzewski and assistants Nate McMillan, Mike D'Antoni and Jim Boeheim.
It's there that discussions will begin in earnest on which 12 players
for the final roster will be selected from the group of 20 finalists
that was announced in January, and which already has been pared down.

Clippers
guard Chauncey Billups is out of the mix due to a season-ending torn
Achilles. And a source said that forward Lamar Odom, who had a poor
season and has been made inactive by Dallas for the rest of the season
due to squabbles with the team, has been eliminated from Olympic
consideration.

"We will have an extremely deep team," said
Colangelo, who said discussions in Las Vegas will include how many big
men the Americans will keep and other such roster considerations. "Coach
K used eight players (regularly) in 2008. He could use all 12 (in
London)."

Colangelo said he has had no discussions yet about
whether Krzyzewski might return after the London Olympics. But
Colangelo, who has not yet committed to anything past 2012, sounded
optimistic he could continue as chairman past the London Games.

"Part of the equation is how I feel, and I feel great," said Colangelo, 72. "My health would not prohibit it."

Asked if that's an indication he's leaning toward staying on, Colangelo said, "Maybe."

Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com
or on Twitter @christomasson


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