The Olympics didn't only used to be about "beating" everyone, at least not as its sole objective.
It was supposed to celebrate amateur athletes, the best the world had to offer. It's what made the basketball gold against other teams so sweet and especially what made the Miracle on Ice live up to its name.
From all I've seen over the years, the Olympic committee at some point sold out by not strictly enforcing the rules of amateurism. Plain and simple. You can go back and forth with any and all arguments on whether players should be compensated and have valid points for and against, but they opened up Pandora's box when they didn't stay resolute in what the Olympics were about. It happened in hockey, boxing, basketball and they did nothing. The USA for many years tried to stick to the spirit of the competition. Finally when, as Det2 stated, the gap was closing, they gave in and allowed pros to play. Grant Hill was extremely bummed when he was passed over for pro players that first year. Now the lines are so blurred between amateur and pros. Really the only sports that you can "go pro" in are ones someone will pay to watch. People really aren't going to pay to watch things like swimming, bicycling, marathon running, crew, etc.
So since it's not what it used to be, will never again be what it used to be, what difference does it make if athletes get paid by their own pro league, sponsors, boosters or what have you? Athletes don't have a duty necessarily to participate. Like others have mentioned, they can just decline. If they get flamed for it, so be it.
I believe it's an honor to represent your country in the Olympics. I would feel thrilled to be so elite as to be chosen to do so.
But I obviously can't relate to the ego evidently required, along with the preternatural skill of a pro athlete to know what they're thought is on it. They apparently feel as though there's never enough money given to them, that someone is always getting by on them. At least that's the perception they exhibit, and I think it's why so many people have a visceral reaction to what Wade said (which he apparently is trying to revisit)
ESPN: Wade Flops: No Pay For Olympics