I really like the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade as a player and as a person, almost all of the time. One of the exceptions, however, came this week when Wade opined that NBA players in the Olympics should get paid.
After that comment made the rounds, Wade then backtracked. He issued a statement saying players shouldn't get paid after all.
I doubt Wade changed his mind on that so quickly -- more likely he had it "changed" for him by someone.
But to think that NBA players who make tens of millions should get more money for the privilege of representing their country -- that was one of the more tone-deaf remarks any NBA athlete has made in years.
It also was an unintentional insult to all of the thousands of Olympic athletes who have given up an inordinate amount of time for many years to pursue their own dreams, with no chance at an eight-figure contract because they don't happen to be great at a sport that has a well-organized pro league. Those athletes live on the verge of poverty, just hoping to make the team.
Now I'm not saying that the athletes should have to pay their way to London for the 2012 Games -- that's what the U.S. Olympic Committee is for. Their expenses should be taken care of, and their gear and their medical needs. But that's it. if you want to give them a performance-based bonus for a gold medal, I'm OK with that.
But the Olympics shouldn't be considered a job. It's an adventure, and a privilege.
Two other Olympic notes:
-- The U.S. whitewater Olympic Trials at the excellent U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte concludes Saturday night (it runs from 3-7 p.m. Saturday and is free and open to the public -- parking is $5). I'm writing about Caroline Queen, one of the best women's kayakers in America and a Davidson sophomore, for Saturday's newspaper. (UPDATE: Here's a link to the column).
-- Greco-Roman wrestler Dremiel Byers, who grew up in Kings Mountain and now lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., has a good shot at making the Olympics again. Byers was on the team in 2008 but didn't medal. He is the No.1 seed in the heavyweight division of the wrestling Olympic Trials, which conclude April 21st.
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