In every Summer Olympic games, one of the biggest attractions is Team USA, aka ‘Dream Team’, or simply the United States men’s basketball team, featuring some of the best players in the NBA, making them stand out among the rest of the competition, probably being the main reason why basketball gets so much attention during the Olympics.
The first Dream Team, the original group in 1992, didn’t stay with the other athletes in the Olympic village. The salaries of NBA players weren’t that high 24 years ago compared to the money getting thrown around to day, but it was quite clear they weren’t like the rest of the “commoners”: Track & field, gymnasts, swimmers and everyone else. The Dream Team stayed in a luxury hotel, and stars of the NBA usually get to miss out on the “full” Olympic experience, that includes staying in the Olympic village.
Things aren’t different in Rio: Both basketball teams, men’s and women’s, are staying on The Silver Cloud, a cruise ship that’s basically like a US embassy during the tournament. It’s docked near one of the hubs of activities in Rio during the competition, Rio’s revitalised port. However, the thousands going there each day to watch the Olympic games on giant screens can’t really approach the cruise ship.
Why? Well, The US athletes are guarded by around 250 federal police officers (securing the entire area, not just the basketball teams) but the ship is a bit distanced from the docking site of other cruise ships visiting RIo during the games. There are also two boats that are used to prevent navigation near the vessel, according to the general directorate of the Maua port terminal. It’s also protected by bulletproof glass all around the vessel, just to stay on the safe side.
The Silver Cloud can accommodate up to 400 people in its 196 cabins, all of them reserved for the US delegation. Considering the complaints athletes have been tweeting about concerning the Olympic village, it’s not surprising to see some athletes preferring to stay away from the place, if it’s possible. It doesn’t seem likely that both basketball teams will miss out on another gold medal because of accommodations, but just to be on the safe side, they’re getting special treatment. After two games for both the men and women, they don’t seem to be running into any trouble, on and off the court.