Kevin Durant Named 2021 USA Basketball Male Athlete Of The Year
After capturing his third Olympic gold medal (2012, 2016, 2020) this past summer at the Tokyo Games, Kevin Durant was honored as the 2021 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
“It’s amazing to be honored in this way,” Durant said. “First off, to represent your country and do it amongst the best athletes in the world, it’s an honor. So many great athletes come through USA Basketball and the national teams in general in all sports, and so to be chosen as one of the top athletes is an honor. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and thankful that I received this award.”
It’s the third time Durant has earned the distinction, as he won it in 2010 and shared it with Carmelo Anthony in 2016.
“Kevin was an incredible leader for USA Basketball this past summer,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “With this being his third Olympics, he had the respect of his teammates, and he clearly is one of the best basketball players in the world. USA Basketball is grateful to Kevin for his time and ongoing commitment to our organization, and we are proud to celebrate him as the 2021 Male Athlete of the Year.”
Durant started in all six Olympic matchups for the USA, and he averaged a team-leading 20.7 points per game and team second-best of 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He shot 52.9% from the field, 37.5% from 3-point and 90.5% from the free throw line and was named by FIBA as MVP of the 2020 Olympic men’s basketball tournament.
“As he has done before, Kevin Durant performed brilliantly on the international stage and led the way to another gold medal,” said USA head coach Gregg Popovich, who was named as a co-recipient of the 2021 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award on Dec. 15. “I remain awed by his work ethic, leadership and desire to excel.”
Durant’s 20.7 ppg. set a U.S. Olympic men’s single-competition record for points averaged, and he tied Carmelo Anthony for most Olympic gold medals (three). Durant is one of just four U.S. male basketball athletes to play in three or more Olympics.
Durant, who has led the USA in scoring in all three of his Olympic appearances and at the 2010 FIBA World Cup, owns eight U.S. Olympic men’s career records, including the top spot for points (435), points averaged (19.8), field goals made (146) and attempted (276), 3-point field goals made (74) and attempted (148) and free throws made (69) and attempted (80).
Among all Tokyo Olympic men’s basketball athletes, Durant ranked third in points scored and field goals made, fourth in field goals attempted and defensive rebounds and sixth in scoring average.
In the USA’s three preliminary round games, Durant scored 10 points against France on July 25; had 10 points and five assist versus Iran on July 28; and scored 23 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists against Czech Republic on July 31.
In the quarterfinals on Aug. 3, he led the USA with 29 points and four assists versus Spain; in the semifinals on Aug. 5, he led the USA with 23 points and nine rebounds against Australia; and in the gold medal game on Aug. 7, he led the USA with 29 points and six rebounds in a rematch with France.
Durant started in all four 2021 USA Men’s national Team exhibition games, and he averaged a team second-best 16.3 ppg. to go with 4.3 rpg. He recorded 17 points, five rebounds and four assists against Nigeria on July 10; 17 points and four rebounds against Australia on July 12; 17 points and six rebounds against Argentina on July 13; and 14 points against Spain on July 18.
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