Friday Fire: Should Olympic Athletes Get Paid? If Not, Who Should Reap the Profits?

Dwyane Wade backed off recent comments (Wade was asked after Ray Allen first commented on the subject) that NBA stars should be compensated for participating in the Olympic Summer Games by tweeting “BUT my love 4 the game & pride 4 USA motivates me more than any $$$ amount. I repped my country in 2004 when we won the bronze medal and stood proudly to receive our gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. It’s always been an honor for me to be a part of the USA Olympic family…and I’m looking forward to doing it again in London this summer.”

His initial comments made to Mike Wallace of

“It’s a lot of things you do for the Olympics — a lot of jerseys you sell,” Wade said after the Heat’s practice on Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s game against Chicago. “We play the whole summer. I do think guys should be compensated. Just like I think college players should be compensated as well. Unfortunately, it’s not there. But I think it should be something, you know, there for it.”


Wade said he hasn’t thought about how much players should be paid for their time. But he said there is a demanding schedule that comes with a commitment to the national team. This summer, NBA players whose teams advance deep into the playoffs could have only a couple of weeks of downtime before the start of Team USA’s training camp in late July.


… “The biggest thing is now you get no rest,” Wade said. “So you go to the end of the season, [Team USA] training camp is two weeks later. You’re giving up a lot to do it. It’s something you want to do. But it’s taxing on your body. You’re not playing for the dollar. But it would be nice if you would get compensated.”


Dwyane Wade’s twitter account has since been suspended.

Yes the players garner endorsements from Olympic participation. Yes their shoe and apparel deals are based on a global market and surely Olympic exposure helps. The question is who should get the money? Revenue generated obviously benefits the hosting city paying for everything from arenas to security. TV networks make millions. Gate sales. Everyone else is getting paid besides the athletes…some of who work their entire lives just for an Olympic moment and don’t medal…while those in the bureaucratic background fatten their pockets…not giving a damn about the admirable meaning of amateur status.

We have to be realistic. It’s why I wrote the NPA piece describing potential player team ownership during the lockout. The actual labor force should be paid their worth.

Addendum 3:18 pm: The IOC Marketing Report from Beijing and a chart of IOC  revenue sources and distribution. – Mizzo (Thanks Roe)

Revenue sharing could be another suggestion so those competing in lesser exposed sports benefit from the hard work they have put in as well (time away from families, their jobs, etc.).

The NBA stars are arguably the most visible athletes in the games. They are professionals with contracts paying millions, yet…I am of the belief that half of jersey sales should go to the players based on revenue generated from their names. Yes, it is an honor to represent your country but why shouldn’t high profile athletes of any sport be financially supported for lending their likeness to the games as well? Again, let’s be realistic. There is no amateur ideal. Even with a global economy allegedly suffering, the reality is someone is getting paid. Follow the money and come up with a logical explanation why the main reason we watch the games…the players…shouldn’t be compensated. There is no easy way around this because those individuals who are benefiting won’t want to give up their part of the pot. The fantasy of amateurism died along time ago so it’s time to catch up to reality where bottom lines are scrutinized with wide eyed financial combs oh so fine.

9 Responses to “Friday Fire: Should Olympic Athletes Get Paid? If Not, Who Should Reap the Profits?”

  1. Funny the uproar when certain athletes speak…

  2. Temple3 says:

    Yeah, its’ funny.

  3. eric daniels says:

    You what’s funny these people want athletes to speak about Mom the flag and apple pie but the minute they talk about “why in the hell my Jersey is selling for 500 dollars and I can’t get cut of that money he’s greedy. If people are so mad about D- Wade and other NBA players complaining rightly about the international pimping of their image for profit then they can use College Players all over again and get their asses smoked. Amateurism is the biggest Olympic lie of them all, every athlete in the major sports gets paid by their federation and have been since the 70’s.

  4. Colangelo says there is no extra money Are Mike Krzyzewski, the rest of the coaching staff and Colangelo getting paid?

  5. Craig Miller
    USA Basketball, Chief Media/Communications Officer says no one gets paid here.

  6. eric daniels says:

    You don’t believe that Mizzo no more than I do, USA Basketball has made a giant mint off of these dream team endeavors. Especially internationally they are raking in dough. Either those people are the worst businessmen/women of all time or they are st8 up lying their asses off.

  7. Definitely agree E.

  8. TheLastPoet says:

    Man, I miss that brother E Daniels .. may he rest in glory ..