BARCELONA, Spain -- U.S. men's basketball co-captain Magic Johnson, troubled by comments from the U.S. Olympic Committee's LeRoy Walker about the inclusion of NBA stars in the Olympics, late last night suggested the official spend time around the team of high-profile stars before condemning their decision to stay in a hotel rather than the Olympic Village.
Speaking after the U.S. team's 115-77 victory over Puerto Rico, Johnson urged Walker to "come with us when we try to leave our hotel. I went to walk my son today in a stroller and I was followed by hundreds of people. Then when we left at 8:30, the line of people was so deep -- and not just on our tiny street. The crowd was huge all the way out to the Ramblas. He should come and experience that.
"We're not trying to be different. We're not trying to go against them. And we've been in the village for lunch. We've also supported other teams and athletes. We've been to gymnastics, boxing, track, and we've come to see the women play. But we're the bad guys. I don't understand it."
Johnson added that the situation appeared to be a "power struggle" between the USOC and USA Basketball, and advised the USOC to "sit down and meet, so we can work these things out. He [Walker] needs to come and understand what it's like."