By Jill Martin, CNN
Team USA avenged its early Olympic loss to France by beating the French men’s basketball team 87-82 for the gold medal on Saturday in the Japanese city of Saitama.
It was the 100th medal won by Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and the country’s 32nd gold.
Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets led the way for the US, scoring 29 points. It is his third Olympic gold medal, tying him with American Carmelo Anthony for the record in the men’s tournament. The Americans have now won men’s basketball gold in every Olympics since Beijing 2008.
The US men’s basketball team lost once during these Olympics, against France in the Americans’ first pool game. Team USA didn’t lose again.
After the game, Durant said on winning his third gold medal, “This one feels good because we went through a lot.”
“We had a lot of first-time guys on the team, new experience for everyone on the team, Covid, the kind of bubble we were in, no fans, no one expecting us to lose,” he said. “To fight through this adversity against a great team like these guys … to come together so fast — it was beautiful to see, it was beautiful to be a part of.”
Durant said he’s now ready to “go home and celebrate.”
“I’m so proud of this team. The coaching staff prepared us so well every single day — even some days when we didn’t feel like practicing, but it was worth it at the end. I’m so glad,” he said.
Teammate Bam Adebayo said Durant’s performance was “phenomenal.”
“The thing I like about Kevin the most, he’s one of the greatest scorers in our league but also he’s a genuine person. People try to bash him in the media but he’s one of those guys that got your back 24/7. Being around him, being around this group of guys, we created a brotherhood,” he said.
For JaVale McGee, winning gold runs in the family — his mother Pamela McGee won women’s basketball gold at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
“It’s an amazing feeling, man. I got a gold medal, my mother’s got a gold medal. You can’t really explain it, just knowing you’re the best in the world,” McGee said. “If that don’t add to the resume, I don’t know what will. It’s a family resume. That’s what it’s all about, in the end, is family.”
Team USA is the most successful nation in men’s Olympic basketball, having clinched a medal in every Olympic basketball tournament it has competed in: 16 golds, one silver and one bronze.
France has now won three Olympic silver medals in men’s basketball, having also lost to the US in the 1948 and 2000 finals.
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