NBA stars hog the limelight at London Olympics 2012

first_imgIf you thought star power at the London Olympics is only about putting on the best shows in various arenas, you have to take a look at the US men’s basketball team.From the time they landed in London, the NBA stars have been in focus, though this time it’s not about winning matches for their respective clubs but how they can land America the gold medal again.From 1992, when the ‘Dream Team’ made its huge appearance at the Barcelona Olympics, the American basketball team has a huge aura which no other team has.Look at it in terms of superstar value and the kind of attention these star players get, you will swoon. As a globally televised sport which has a huge connect with the world audience, names of the NBA stars ring a bell for any fan.Yet, when they come to the Olympics, it’s all about keeping egos aside and performing as a team. On Sunday, the Yanks will fight it out against Spain for gold, a repeat of the Beijing final.Even though on the last day of the Olympics the showpiece event is the closing ceremony, the basketball final is truly a blue-chip event with the millionaires of the sport ready for one last fight to glory.Just sample some of the names which play basketball for the USA. Compared to tennis silver medallist Roger Federer who was the second highest paid athlete at the Games ($52.7) million on the Forbes list, the collective value in monetary terms of the basketball players is a huge sum.advertisementSuperstar LeBron James is the fourth overall with $53 million despite a 20 per cent salary cut. And he holds a stake in Liverpool FC through his marketing partnership with Fenway.The true giant in America, whose interviews are so sought after is Kobe Bryant as the Los Angeles Lakers star is currently paid  $52.3million and is sixth overall. He has the highest salary/winnings.Kevin Durant is 34th overall with close to $ 40 million earnings and Carmelo Anthony is 44th overall. He gets a salary of $ 14.9 million and totals $ 22.9 million.Lower down, you have Chris Paul ($13.2 million) and total 19.2 million and Deron Williams 84th but has a salary of 16.2 million.In sharp contrast, you have the seven feet and one inch tall Spaniard Pau Gasol at 95th on the Forbes list for top athletes and you know what the basketball competition is about.Unlike the poorer athletes who live in the Games Village, the American basketball kings live in posh villas like the tennis stars who annually hire places in Wimbledon.It’s a study in contrast when you have at one end of the spectrum normal athletes and those who live classily.Yet, whenever it has come to the Olympics, the NBA stars have always put the country’s interests ahead and the results are there for us to see.On court, they battle it out like a perfect team, though this time around the Argentine side has posed problems for them.The NBA fan like you and me would think that when you put an assembly of giants on the floor, points will be scored easily and matches won.However, the beauty of sport lies in its unpredictability. Just as many people lost money when they bet on Federer for gold at the Olympics, for the American basketball players it has not been a case of taking the opposition for granted.So high was the ticket demand even for their league matches, even the accredited media had to put in early requests.So what is the difference between action in the NBA and the Olympics? I can tell you it is as different as cheese and chalk as in the Olympics, its national fever which runs all through the fortnight.Yet, to forget egos, the kind of money you make as professional athlete and just fight for the country is a very different challenge.Yes, the Yanks crank themselves up in the Olympics basketball arena as the world watches so many giants leap, run and score points.last_img

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