Rondo: No Olympic interest; Allen: Pay players
MIAMI— A pair of stars who wear green had something to say Tuesday about the red, white and blue.
In interviews with FOX Sports Florida, Boston guard Rajon Rondo said he has no interest ever in playing in the Olympics and Celtics guard Ray Allen believes Team USA players should draw some sort of salary for participation in the Games. Allen won a gold medal with the Americans in Sydney in 2000.
Rondo, who is one of the NBA's top point guards and is averaging a league-best 11.3 assists, wasn't one of the 20 players selected in January as finalists for Team USA's 2012 roster in London. And even if another player were to possibly be added, Rondo, 26, said there would be no need to call him.
"I'm not focusing at all on the Olympics. At all. At all," Rondo said before handing out 15 assists in Boston's 115-107 win over Miami, his 18th straight game with 10 or more, the NBA's longest streak in 20 years.
Rondo, who still would be young enough to play in the Games in 2016 or 2020, then was asked if he ever would have an interest in playing in the Olympics.
"No, I don't," he said. "I just don't… Wondering why? I love my summers. I'll leave it at that."
Rondo didn't help his standing with USA Basketball when he went overseas as a finalist with the World Championship team in 2010 before soon returning to the U.S. Rondo believes he would have made the team that eventually won gold had he decided not to bolt when the Americans were in Greece before going to the event in Turkey.
"I decided to leave," said Rondo, whose departure was described by USA Basketball as one for family reasons. "I was homesick."
Rondo said he never spoke to USA Basketball officials about possibly being a finalist for the 2012 Olympics. There were six point guards selected in Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon and Chauncey Billups, although Billups has been ruled out of contention due to suffering a season-ending torn Achilles earlier this year.
"I don't even know who's on the list," Rondo said.
Told about Rondo's position, Allen said "everyone has their own stand" regarding playing in the Olympics. He said he was "glad" to have won gold in 2000 but doesn't know how he would respond if ever asked to play in another Olympics.
It's highly unlikely Allen, who will be 37 when the 2012 Games get underway, ever would be asked again. But he offered a suggestion for the future about paying Team USA Players.
"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 opportunties, 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."
The U.S. Olympic Committee does provide every American with $25,000 for winning a gold medal, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for a bronze. But Allen, while not specifying an amount, has a way he believes could result in Team USA players drawing a fair salary.
"If it's licensing," Allen said. "(The players) are wearing jerseys and (others, but not the players, are) making money off it. Something (should be done) just to say to the guys, 'Hey, you guys are spending this much time, 40 days, playing basketball, we're paying for some type service that you provide, that you're getting some kind of kickback'… I know that you sell unlimited jerseys so I think the players should get some piece of that."
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson