Both the men’s and the women’s USA basketball teams will not be staying in the Olympic village for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Instead, the teams will spend their downtime on a luxury cruise ship. USA basketball will also be providing a much larger second ship for “Olympic families,” according to ESPN.
Chairman of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo first told ESPN’s Marc Stein of their plans to stay on the cruise liner back in March. The men’s and women’s team will be staying on the “Silver Cloud,” operated by Silversea Cruises. The ship will be anchored in the Port of Rio.
The luxury accommodations should not come as a surprise to anyone, however. Beginning in 1992 with the “Dream Team,” USA basketball stopped checking into the Olympic Village and began finding other locations to house their athletes. One of those locations was a cruise ship at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
“We don’t stay in the village because we don’t feel it’s the best way to prepare for competition,” USA basketball spokesperson Craig Miller told the Associated Press. “The players have a long professional season and they want to spend as much time as possible with family and friends.”
Not to mention the difficulty many basketball players must have literally fitting into the Olympic Village accommodations. The average player height in the NBA is 6-foot-8, according to the Washington Post.
“The beds aren’t made for 7-foot (2.13-meter) players,” Miller said. “Sometimes I’ve seen [players] put their luggage at the end of the bed so their feet can rest there.”
And if the USA basketball teams didn’t stay in the Village for the past six Olympics, then there was definitely no way they were going to stay there for Rio. There have been multiple reports concerning the subpar state of this year’s Olympic Village.
Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut, who will compete with Team Australia in Rio, posted an image of himself doing some handiwork to try and improve what he sarcastically labeled as “IOCLuxuryLodging.”
There is one downside to the cruise ship, though. The last time the men’s team stayed on one, in 2004, they failed to bring back the gold medal.
So here’s hoping cruise ships aren’t bad luck for Team USA.