U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams Share USA Basketball Team of the Year Award

Colorado Springs, CO (Dec. 13, 2021)—In recognition of their remarkable gold medal performances this past summer at the Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Basketball selected the U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams, featuring Aces guard Chelsea Gray and forward A’ja Wilson, as co-recipients of the 2021 USA Basketball Team of the Year Award.The U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team captured a seventh-straight Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with a 6-0 record, while the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team claimed a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal with a 5-1 record.With seven-straight golds, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team matched the record for consecutive Olympic Men’s Basketball Teams set from 1936-1968.“The U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams were outstanding to watch this past summer as they claimed gold medals, and USA Basketball is grateful to all of the athletes, coaches and staff who were a part of that success,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “For both teams to stand on top of the Olympic podium was a testament to their commitment and the chemistry that they were able to build.”The U.S. women averaged a tournament-leading 84.7 ppg. and shot 50.4% from the field, 35.1% from 3-point 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 – no one cares about anything but winning,” said USA head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina), who was the first Black woman to be a U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team head coach. “We have one goal, seriously one goal; and that is win. It doesn’t matter how that looks or that people think other countries have closed the gap. We didn’t care about that. Did we care that we lost two (exhibition) games at the beginning of our journey? Yes. And that sometimes helped fuel us to continue to play the style of basketball that has gotten us so many gold medals.”The U.S. men shot 49.9% from the field, 39.0% from 3-point and 78.0% from the free throw line and averaged 99.0 points per game, which was second-best in the 12-team tournament.“To win the gold medal with this group of players was the most satisfying athletic experience of my life,” said USA head coach Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs). “I will always be indebted to them for their sacrifice, persistence and willingness to play the game with passion and an unwavering dedication to each other.”The U.S. Olympic Women’s Team also featured 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 really difficult to win a gold medal. This year was even harder, given all of the challenges everyone faced,” Bird said after the USA won gold. “So for our team to deal with all of the same adversity everybody else was dealing with and never let it get us down and be sitting here now with a gold medal around our necks is really special.”Bird and Taurasi captured an historic fifth-straight Olympic gold medal.The U.S. men’s team also featured 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 U.S. Olympic gold medalist who was selected by FIBA as the 2021 men’s Olympic tournament MVP. “We lost a couple of games early, and we were able to bounce back and figure out our identity along the way in such a short period of time. Coach Pop was a huge credit to that. And also the women’s side, they did the same thing. Us traveling on the same plane, staying in the same hotels, it was good to have that camaraderie with the women’s team as well, because they were going through the same things we were. So, with COVID and restrictions and being in somewhat of a bubble, we all fought through some tough circumstances to go out there and win. It was an honor to play for our country.”