The US men’s and women’s basketball teams are spending their time at the Rio Olympics not in the athletes' village, but on a luxury cruise ship.
Since 1992, the US basketball teams have passed on the Olympic village in exchange for more stylish and comfortable places to call home.
Although the vast majority of athletes stay in the Olympics village, NBA stars cite their popularity and fame as a primary reason for the seclusion and separate accommodations.
“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,” Angel McCoughtry, a women’s basketball player who is participating in her second Olympics, told the New York Times.
McCoughtry said the boat was “very nice” and “secluded.”
The players' 16,000-ton ship, the Silver Cloud, can carry nearly 300 guests.
The ship has a casino...
...and a beauty salon on board, according to the company’s website.
The ship is guarded by 250 police officers and a bulletproof glass fence.
Meanwhile, back in the lackluster Olympic village, Andrew Bogut, an Australian basketball player who plays for the Dallas Mavericks and is playing for his home country of Australia in this year’s games, recently tweeted a picture of himself putting together a shower curtain.
Before the games got underway, the Australian team had complained of blocked toilets, leaking pipes, and even water coming down the walls in the village, painting a grim picture of the accommodation.
When a reporter mentioned the disparity of accommodations to NBA star Carmelo Anthony, who is staying on the ship, Anthony said he tries not to “compare the two situations.”
”The Olympic village has always been something that we, as players, look forward to going to. We look forward to being there. We look forward to having that experience. But for us and them guys, it’s just two different experiences,” Anthony said, according to USA Today.
“It’s not so much about us being and staying on a boat. It’s just like we would be staying in a hotel. It’s the same thing. It’s not like we’re cruising around. We’re docked. We have the same amenities as if we’re staying in a hotel, so I don’t really see what the [discussion is about]. The beds are not big. The rooms are small. There’s some disadvantages to staying on the ship.”
The US team previously stayed on a cruise ship for the 2004 Summer Olympic games in Athens, Greece.
At the time, Anthony didn't seem to like the ship too much, telling reporters, "We was stuck on a boat" and that he "...didn't have a chance to interact with nobody."
That year the team received a bronze medal, the second time in Olympic history for a team that usually wins gold.
Yet some of the most famous athletes from around the world are staying at Rio's Olympic Village, including the world's fastest man and six-time gold medal winner, Usain Bolt.
Michael Phelps, who has more gold medals than any other athlete in history, recently bumped into the world’s number one ranked tennis player, Novak Djokovic, at the village.
But back on the ship things seemed fine as US women's basketball star Elena Delle Donne said she was "Livin the dream!"
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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