U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball Teams Share U.S. Basketball Team of the Year Award
Colorado Springs, Colorado (December 13, 2021)—In recognition of their stellar gold medal performances last summer at the Tokyo Olympics, USA Basketball has selected the USA Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball Teams, featuring Aces guard Chelsea Gray and forward A’ja Wilson as co-recipients of the 2021 USA Basketball Award. Team of the Year Award.
The United States Women’s Olympic Basketball Team won a seventh straight Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with a 6-0 record, while the United States Men’s Olympic Basketball Team won a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal with a 5-1 record.
With seven consecutive gold medals, the United States Women’s Olympic Basketball Team tied the record for consecutive Men’s Olympic Basketball Teams set from 1936 to 1968.
“The United States men’s and women’s Olympic basketball teams were exceptional to watch last summer as they won gold medals, and USA Basketball is grateful to all of the athletes, coaches and staff. who have been part of this success,” said Jim Tooley, USA. Basketball CEO. “For both teams, reaching the Olympic podium was a testament to their commitment and the chemistry they were able to create.”
The American women averaged a tournament-leading 84.7 points per game. and shot 50.4% from the field, 35.1% from 3-pointers and 79.4% from the free-throw line.
“What made this team special is the very thing that keeps me coming back to USA Basketball – nobody cares about anything but winning,” said USA head coach Dawn Staley (Carolina du South), who was the first black woman to be an American Olympian. Head coach of the women’s basketball team. “We have a goal, seriously a goal; and it’s won. It doesn’t matter what it looks like or people think other countries have closed the gap. We don’t care about that. Did we pay attention that we lost two (exhibition) games at the start of our journey? Yes. And that has helped us at times to continue playing the style of basketball that has brought us so many gold medals.
The American men shot 49.9% from the field, 39.0% from 3-pointers and 78.0% from the free-throw line and averaged 99.0 points per game, which was second-best in the 12-team tournament.
“Winning the gold medal with this group of players was the most satisfying sporting experience of my life,” said USA head coach Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs). “I will forever be indebted to them for their sacrifice, perseverance and willingness to play the game with passion and unwavering dedication to one another.”
The US Women’s Olympic Team also included Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm, Tina Charles (Washington Mystics), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Phoenix Mercury), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx) , Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and USA Assistant Coaches Dan Hughes, Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (President, Connecticut Sun ).
“It’s always very difficult to win a gold medal. This year was even tougher considering all the challenges everyone was facing,” Bird said after the United States won gold. “So for our team to face the same adversity that everyone else was facing and never let it get us down and to be sitting here now with a gold medal around your neck is really special.”
Bird and Taurasi won a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal.
The American men’s team also included Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks), Keldon Johnson (San Antonio Spurs), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) and assistant coaches Steve Kerr ( Golden State Warriors), Lloyd Pierce (Indiana Pacers) and Jay Wright (Villanova).
“The strength we had was our resilience,” said Durant, a three-time US Olympic gold medalist who was selected by FIBA as the 2021 Men’s Olympic Tournament MVP. we were able to bounce back and discover our identity along the way in such a short time. Coach Pop was a huge credit to that. And also on the women’s side, they did the same. Us traveling on the same plane, staying in the same hotels, it was good to have this camaraderie with the women’s team too, because they were going through the same things as us. So with COVID and the restrictions and being in kind of a bubble, we all fought through tough circumstances to come out and win. It was an honor to play for our country. »