USA Basketball already cruising in Rio de Janeiro

USA Basketball already cruising in Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO — Every four years, the same questions tend to surface before the Summer Olympics: Will the host city be ready? Is Usain Bolt still the world’s fastest man? And what sort of cushy digs will the United States basketball players find for themselves?

 The Games are underway, Bolt is back to defend his sprinting titles and, once again, the men’s and women’s basketball players from the United States are avoiding the athletes’ village. Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Diana Taurasi and the rest of their high-profile teammates are staying on a luxury cruise ship, docked at a pier on the other side of the city.
If the team’s lodging seems standoffish, that is by design. U.S.A. Basketball, the organization that oversees the national men’s and women’s teams, has shunned the athletes’ village since 1992. The team stayed on a ship at the 2004 Games in Athens, then used hotels in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

“The boat we’re staying on is very nice, very secluded,” said Angel McCoughtry, who is playing in her second Olympics. “Let’s be honest — how can our men’s and women’s teams stay in the village? They would get bombarded, especially the men’s team. They won’t have peace.”

The players, particularly the men, are exceedingly well paid as professionals. But other highly compensated athletes seemingly have no qualms about mixing with the other Olympians in the village. Bolt, probably the biggest star of these Games, checked into the village the other day. Michael Phelps, the world’s most famous swimmer, ran into Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked men’s tennis player in the world, in the village and asked for a selfie.

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