RIO DE JANEIRO — Ten first-time Olympians. Six players who had never played a game for the senior national team before they got here. The shock to the system of three single-digit games in one single Olympics wasn’t all that surprising to USA Basketball officials once you did the roster math.
“I just wanted to clear the air for all these people,” Wall said in a video published to the Twitter feed of the LeBron James media platform “The Uninterrupted.”
“Listen, that doesn’t matter to me,” Wall said. “If I produce like I’m supposed to on the basketball court and take care of myself and image, I’m going to be fine with making money. That’s not why I play the game of basketball.”
Wall’s soliloquy comes days after he and fellow Wizards guard Bradley Beal discussed their apparently conflicted relationship in interviews with Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.
Beal signed a five-year, $128 million max contract this offseason with Wall in the middle of an $80 million deal that runs through the 2018 season.
“Me, talking about Bradley Beal [making] more money, I’m not mad. I’m happy. He’s my teammate,” Wall said Friday. “He came out at the right time when the contract money came up. I can’t control that.”
“Melo’s for sure the leader,” Team USA sixth man Paul George offered. “He’s the voice of this team.”
“We don’t have enough time,” Colangelo said of the outgoing coach, “to talk about how much he has meant to our program.”
Hard as it was to keep track of all the understandable praise flying around, Sunday’s gold-medal dismantling of Serbia was ultimately Durant’s day. He managed to trump the retiring Coach K (who leaves his post with a record of 88-1) and the record-setting Anthony (who became the first men’s basketball player in Olympic history to win three golds) with a performance on par with the 30 points he uncorked in the 2012 gold-medal game in London.