Consider this a rhetorical question.
Would you rather play basketball in the NBA for over $24 million per year, that is 24 followed by six zeros and in solid U.S. dollars, or would you risk throwing that away by playing rep basketball for New Zealand?
By the way, that $US 24 million works out to $NZ 35.2 million.
Andrew Bogut may have had to swallow his pride and come back to play in the NBL, but Steven Adams faced no such prospect and apparently felt secure enough after signing a contract extension that he splurged on a new cell phone.
We’re not sure if Adams felt secure enough to sign up for an unlimited plan, but we would have, that is, if we could figure out how to use a bloody smart phone.
Much credit is due to Adams for New Zealand officials claiming that basketball is the fastest growing sport in the country, but all that means is that no one used to play, whereas now, some are playing.
It is a disservice to compare basketball to rugby in terms of growth.
Adams is not the only Kiwi who experiences a similar dilemma. Footballer Winston Reid would gladly play more games for the All Whites, but his bosses at West Ham United think that the £70,000 they pay him every week entitles them to exclusive rights.
Flag wavers often seem to forget that professional sports is a business and the athletes know that the difference between astronomical wealth and a more modest income can be defined in seconds by a misplaced foot on the ground or in the carpark on the way to work.
Adams and Reid do more to promote the growth of their sports at the grassroots level just by rising to the pinnacles of their respective codes.
The fact that they do so in the top levels for huge sums of money should not be used as a way to shame them for not playing more for purely nationalistic purposes.