To minimize distractions and mitigate security concerns generated by the high profile of its star athletes, USA Basketball has been placing players outside the Olympic village since professional basketball players were first allowed to compete in the 1992 Barcelona Games. This year they are staying aboard a ship.
The luxury cruise ship Silver Cloud, part of the Silversea Cruises fleet, which can accommodate 296 people, will be anchored at Pier Maua, in Guanabara Bay, and it will be heavily guarded. There is only one gangway, the Daily Mail writes, with an airport-type scanner manned by security, and the ship is surrounded by a bulletproof-glass fence. Police boats, with marksmen aboard, will patrol the water around the ship.
Jerry Colangelo, the director of U.S.A. Basketball said that keeping the basketball players in seclusion was a matter of security.
“Our players are probably the most recognizable athletes in the world,” he said, explaining the “extra precaution” being taken.
“We have our own idea of how to do that,” Colangelo said. “We can’t just throw them in with — once the International Olympic Committee decided they wanted pro players, to allow pro players to play, we have to protect them. They’re very valuable assets.”
“Spacious yet intimate, designed to cross oceans and yet able to slip up rivers and into hidden harbours with ease, the yacht-like Silver Cloud carries just 296 guests in incomparable comfort and style,” the Silversea website says. “Combining spacious ocean-view suites and private verandas with stunning dining and entertainment options, our inaugural ship launched a new ocean standard and continues to epitomize Silversea’s vision of world-class cruise accommodations, service and amenities. Join us and come home to warmth and welcome anywhere in the world desire takes you,” it added.
According to Silver Seas the ship has beds that will accommodate 7-footers, a spa, multiple dining areas, a bar, a cigar lounge and an open-air pool. Prices for a 10 day cruise aboard the Silver Cloud range between $4,725 for a 240 square foot cabin and $18,045 for the Owner’s Suite but Silver Seas has not released the cost of chartering the entire ship for a week.
This is not the first time the American team has stayed aboard ship. The team chartered the Queen Mary 2 in Athens in 2004, and it proved to be a cruise to nowhere when the squad lost to Argentina and returned home with bronze. They also returned home with mixed views about staying aboard a ship.
“We was stuck on a boat in 2004,” Carmelo Anthony told the Washington Post in 2008. “We really didn’t have a chance to interact with nobody.”
There are 46 N.B.A. players and 26 Women’s N.B.A. players at these Games representing various countries but the star athletes not playing for Team USA are staying at the Olympic village seemed to be enjoying life without the full luxury of a high dollar cruise ship.