USA Basketball Team in Possible Massage-Related Scandal

Photo: Getty Images

The USA’s Olympic basketball team, charged with turning around the country’s impotent showings in the last few international tournaments, will be one of the most watched teams in the Beijing Games. Considering the spotlight, and some past instances of diva-ish behavior among the set of millionaires, players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were expected to keep their noses clean, or as clean as possible while walking through all that smog. The goal is a gold medal, not headlines. So far, they’ve done just fine; smoking some exhibition opponents, avoiding any offense to the sneaker companies by not mentioning the word “Tibet.” All good.

But with their first game — against the host country — approaching this Saturday, the local papers are already ganging up on Team USA. That is to say: They’re accusing stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade of soliciting prostitutes. Well, not prostitutes exactly — “female technicians.” Let us explain.

The blog Black Sports Online (which has some history covering this sort of thing) dug up a copy of what it calls “the Chinese version of the National Inquiry” — we assume they mean the National Enquirer, which begs the question: What in the world would the Chinese version of the National Enquirer be allowed to cover? — that claims the three stars spent their first week in Macau (staying at the Venetian, of course) engaging the local massage talents. Even worse: They left a bad tip! Using Australian money, for some reason!

Cue the hilariously awkward translation:

Wednesday 0:30, James, Wade and Anthony at a staff member, accompanied by walking out, "Shen Gong" to Macao a "fight to" the "gold fish tank"-style sauna and entertainment centre. They arranged by hotel limousine to the pier near places of entertainment, it is worth mentioning that the three Taiwan Qingchejiancong, and no special security measures. It is learnt that the "playing the" sauna and massage services entertainment center about 90 minutes AUD 1500, the three stars in "fighting the" selection of all Vietnamese women technicians, said Macao and Vietnam technicians in the best massage techniques and the most Popular. Hong Kong paparazzi after a special interview for the provision of services NBA superstar female technicians, three female technicians at the beginning of work before, have learned about the identity of the person, such as James, has more than once because of previous service for celebrities, so they do not show Special surprise, it is said that the three VIPs only to the 200 Australian dollars as a tip, it is hardly generous.


(If you can read Chinese and maybe help us out, the original story is here.)

The “Chinese National Inquiry” also has photos, though they’re pretty much just a shot of the three players walking around juxtaposed with a pixilated Asian woman on the phone. But those fans alarmed by this poorly translated and even more poorly sourced item needn’t worry about Kobe Bryant. According to the translation, he “was not too much of the harvest.” We take this to mean that Kobe won't need to buy another diamond when he returns to the States. Whew. —Will Leitch

Lebron, DWade & Carmello Getting Their Hong Kong Freak On [Black Sports Online]