USA 'Dream Team' spotted on the Tube as giants lower themselves to commuting with the rest of us
Wednesday 08 August 2012
If MTV's Cribs is to be believed all top flight American sports stars are chauffeured around in Limousines or at least cruise the streets in their customised top-spec Hummers. During the 2012 Games though, it seems Team USA's basketball squad are living by the old adage of 'when in Rome...' and are slumming it with the best of us on London's public transport system.
Multi-millionaire NBA basketballers LeBron James and Kobe Bryant led the way as the Americans swapped their chauffeur-driven cars for London’s public transport system — posting pictures of themselves riding on Tubes, buses and trains.
James has an £11 million-a-year deal with the Miami Heat and lucrative sponsorship deals with Nike and Coca-Cola but rode the late night express Javelin service from Stratford’s Olympic Park to St Pancras alongside one of America’s biggest stars, Kobe Bryant — who happily high-fived fellow travellers and handed out US Olympic souvenirs — and the rest of the Dream Team.
Bryant, 32, who has a fan in President Obama and is on a multi-million dollar contract with the LA Lakers, already has a gold medal from Beijing. His is one of the most recognisable faces in sport-loving America.
The basketball team were heading home to their central London hotel as, unlike the majority of athletes, they prefer not to stay overnight in the village. But the basketball giants are not the only US stars to show a wholesome level of humility.
USA 400m hurdles gold medal prospect Lashinda Demus rides the 257 bus home each night to her rented accommodation, close to Leytonstone High Road. She sat among discarded food cartons and drink containers at 1am after winning her heat.
The world champion and US record holder said: “I simply like riding on public transport. Its only a couple of stops to where I am staying.”
Each night, with her husband Jamel Mayrant and their young twin sons, she boards the bus at Westfield for the short journey home.
Many of the athletes cramming onto the overstretched public transport network have helped bring some Olympic spirit to commuters.
Team GB members were seen waiting for east-bound trains at Mile End while Rwandan athletes were spotted waiting patiently for a train at Shoreditch High Street overground station.
One of the biggest thrills for those not fortunate enough to witness the Olympic events first hand was when Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limardo Gascón boarded a DLR carriage with his gold medal around his neck.
When the Olympics are over on Sunday evening that Monday morning commute may return to normality, but for some workers the journey will always be tinged with golden memories of the time the world’s greatest sporting stars blended in.
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