The 2020 Olympics are over now and Team USA are kings of international basketball again, despite doubts that they would not get the job done. Thanks to the spectacular play of 4-time scoring Kevin Durant and the assistance of key stars such as Jrue Holiday and Draymond Green, Team USA overcame criticism to put away France in the gold medal game.
Kevin Durant might have solidified himself as the greatest player to ever play for Team USA, and Gregg Popovich adds yet another achievement to his Hall of Fame coaching career. But one player might have received the greatest honor of all: Draymond Green. The loud-spoken defensive player is not a flashy scorer or athlete, but his impact on the floor is often underrated and cannot be denied any longer. By winning the gold medal this year, he joins elite company as the only player to win 3 rings and 2 Olympic medals.
5 NBA Championships, 2 Olympic Gold Medals
The Lakers legend was not only a dominant NBA player but a winner on the Olympic level. Bryant won 2 Olympic medals in 2008 and 2012 and had one of the greatest performances on an international stage in the gold medal game against Spain in 2008. Bryant dropped 13 points in the fourth quarter of that game, further solidifying himself as the most clutch player in the NBA other than Michael Jordan.
Bryant’s success in the NBA was also prevalent, winning 5 championships with 1 franchise and also capturing 2 Finals MVPs. Playing with some special players such as Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant almost always got the job done in big moments and his 5-2 Finals record goes well with his 2-0 Olympics record.
6 Championships, 2 Olympic Gold Medals
The greatest athlete in team sports history, Michael Jordan dominated basketball better than anyone that came before or after him. Wilt Chamberlain has the record books on his side, but he never won the number of times that Jordan did. With the Chicago Bulls, Jordan famously went 6-0 in every NBA Finals series without ever playing in a Game 7.
On the international stage, Jordan was also the best player on the floor. He averaged 16.0 PPG whenever he suited up for Team USA in the Olympics and was one of the most dominant two-way players in the tournament. Jordan not only locked up scorers but was also the most dominant offensive player and his undefeated record in the Olympics matches his unbeaten record in the NBA Finals.
6 Championships, 2 Olympic Gold Medals
Alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen won 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls and was the main reason the Bulls Dynasty kicked off. For years, Jordan was carrying the team on his back without having team success. Once Pippen became an All-Star, he gave Jordan the help he needed to form the greatest Dynasty ever.
But in the Olympics, Pippen shined brightly beyond anyone’s shadow. He shut down most scorers on opposing teams and was one of the best players on the “Dream Team”. Until now, we have not seen a team more talented than that and Pippen was the defensive specialist and playmaker for the squad.
4 Championships, 2 Olympic Gold Medals
Unsurprisingly, LeBron James is on this list because his ability to affect any basketball game he is in is unprecedented. Whether local or internationally, LeBron James is arguably the most gifted player we have ever seen. Standing 6’9” and weighing 250 lbs, James has the physical tools to dominate all aspects of the game with his high basketball IQ.
James has 4 rings with 3 franchises in the NBA, and also 2 Olympic medals to his name. The King did his best to surround himself with the right talent to win NBA championships, and he always prospered with great players around him because of his playmaking ability. With Team USA, he always had Hall of Fame players around him and he handily won 2 Olympic medals as a result.
3 Championships, 2 Olympic Gold Medals
Perhaps the most unlikely name among these players, Draymond Green is one of five players to ever hold 3 rings and 2 Olympic medals. While Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson will always be mentioned before him whenever the Golden State Warriors Dynasty is brought up; Green was arguably just as important.
He was the vocal leader on a team with talented yet reserved characters and is one of the most versatile defenders we have ever seen. Green’s ability to defend all positions made the Warriors unstoppable, and Team USA probably would not have won Gold without that versatility either. The Team USA squad was filled with scorers, but size and defense were lacking. Green’s superstar ability on that end is the reason the 3-time All-Star joins Kobe, Jordan, Pippen, and LeBron as the only players with 3 rings and 2 Olympic Gold medals.