As Olympic Teammates Occupy Dorms, USA Basketball Takes Over Cruise Ship

The United States Men's National Basketball Team stand together during the playing of the National Anthem prior to facing off with the China Men's National Team in a USA Basketball showcase exhibition game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California

Most Olympians stay in one of several concrete towers in the sky. American basketball players competing in Rio reside on a silver cloud on the sea.

The Silver Cloud sits on the dirty waters off of Rio. Since 1992, when the International Olympic Committee permitted professionals to compete on the hardwood, NBA stars playing for Olympic gold have ditched the dorms and embraced living large at the summer games. This go-round they employ a 22-year-old, smallish cruise ship as their home away from home.

The Silver Cloud features a cigar bar, casino, pools, library, beauty salon, boutique shops, and a theater. At 514 feet, it measures more than five times the length of the courts the pros play on in Brazil.

It beats sewing your own shower curtain, as Australian national team center Andrew Bogut did after arrival at the Olympic village. Other Australians returned to their housing after a small fire to discover gear and laptops stolen. The spartan quarters do not feature televisions in the rooms and until recently included air conditioners only on a pay-per-unit basis. Faulty wiring, unfinished construction, dirty floors, and gas and water leaks remain as complained about issues in the athletes’ village. The Americans refuse to slum it for these and other reasons.

“Spacious yet intimate, designed to cross oceans and yet able to slip up rivers and into hidden harbours with ease, the yacht-like Silver Cloud carries just 296 guests in incomparable comfort and style,” the ship’s website informs. “Combining spacious ocean-view suites and private verandas with stunning dining and entertainment options, our inaugural ship launched a new ocean standard and continues to epitomize Silversea’s vision of world-class cruise accommodations, service and amenities.”

Though the highest-paid women’s players rake in WNBA salaries in the low six figures, they stay on the ship with their male counterparts. The boat can accommodate 400 guests, so although the players upgraded from the dorms they don’t get the ship to themselves. Tech behemoth Cisco occupies some of the rooms on the bark.