Rio 2016: US basketball team stay on luxury cruise ship after Olympic Village snub

Both the men's and women's squads are staying in the Maua port in Rio, away from the rest of Team USA

Jack de Menezes@JackdeMenezes
Friday 05 August 2016 10:05
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While other athletes learn to live with the surprises that the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Village has thrown up, the United States’ basketball team will stay in luxury on a top of the range cruise liner.

The Silver Cloud has moored up in Rio’s harbour to host the men’s and women’s basketball team, all under the gaze of the Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over Rio. With many athletes – including the rest of Team USA – staying in the athletes’ village, the basketball teams have elected to upgrade their accommodation and stay on the luxury cruise ship along with members of the United States’ delegation.

With 196 cabins on board and treats such as a games room, clean water and a balcony view overlooking the ocean, the all-star basketball line-up have been enjoying the finer side of life that Rio has to offer.

After arriving in the host city on Wednesday, the team visited the famous Christ the Redeemer statue before making their way down to heavily-guarded cruise ship, with new Golden State Warriors arrival Kevin Durant left in awe by Rio’s main centre piece.

"It was so dark and then it was lit up," Durant said of the Christ the Redeemer statue. "It was like Jesus was flying over us. I want to go back and see it up close."

With around 250 police officers protecting the cruise ship as well as boats patrolling the area in the harbour, extensive measures have been taken to ensure the millionaire line-up remain safe throughout the Games.

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A bulletproof fence has been erected around the vessel, although the team appear to be in a relaxed mood as Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving admitted it wasn’t too different to being at home – except with the obvious change of floating on water.

"It's nice. It's like staying at a hotel," Thompson said.

Irving added: "It's good. We live life. Like when you go home, except on a boat.

"I wouldn't necessarily call it a cruise ship. It's just a private environment for the USA basketball national team for women's and men's, our coaching staff.”

"It's pretty cool. We're in a hotel on water,” Durant added.

With the basketball competition getting underway on Saturday, Team USA look set to be one of the busiest squads at Rio, with action taking place every day until the closing ceremony on Sunday 21 August, where the men’s side will hope to win their 15th Olympic gold in 18 attempts – having boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow.

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