Allisha Gray Honored as 2021 USA Basketball 3x3 Athlete of the Year
After helping the USA secure its Olympic berth in May 2021 and then aiding the USA to the gold medal at the inaugural Olympic 3x3 tournament in July at the Tokyo Games, Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings/South Carolina/Sandersville, Ga.) was named the 2021 USA Basketball 3x3 Athlete of the Year.
While USA Basketball has recognized a Male and Female Athlete of the Year annually since 1996, 2021 marks the debut of the USA Basketball 3x3 Athlete of the Year award.
“Winning a gold medal on the world’s biggest stage was already such a huge accomplishment and dream of mine, so to be named the USA Basketball 3x3 Athlete of the Year on top of that is a very special honor,” Gray said. “It’s a surreal feeling to know that this honor will be cemented in history as the very first USA Basketball 3x3 Athlete of the Year. I also have to give credit to my teammates and coach (Kara) Lawson, because this would not have been possible without them.”
At the first Olympic 3x3 tournament, which was played July 24-28, 2021, Gray started in all nine games as the USA went 8-1. She averaged team-highs of 7:21 minutes and 1.2 key assists per game, along with 5.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game, and she shot 57.8% from inside the arc and 31.3% from 2-point.
“Allisha was a tremendous contributor to our golden 3x3 Olympic Team this past summer, and USA Basketball is proud to honor her as its first USA Basketball 3x3 Athlete of the Year,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “Allisha had a non-stop motor on the court and was the ultimate teammate. And on top of her performance at the Olympics, she was a key part of the U.S. women qualifying for the Olympic 3x3 tournament in May. She committed a lot of her time to USA Basketball in 2021.”
In addition to Gray, the U.S. Olympic 3x3 Team included Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky/Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces/Washington/Poway, Calif.) and Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces/Notre Dame/Princeton, Ind.), as well as USA coach Kara Lawson (Duke), who on Dec. 9 was named the 2021 USA Basketball 3x3 Coach of the Year. On Dec. 6, the U.S. Olympic 3x3 Women’s Team was named the 2021 USA Basketball 3x3 Team of the Year.
“Congratulations to Allisha Gray on being named USA Basketball’s 3x3 Player of the Year,” Lawson said. “It’s such a well-deserved honor. Allisha is the best 3x3 player I’ve ever coached – male or female, it doesn’t matter. She’s someone who impacted the game so much for us in Tokyo. She’s a lockdown defender. She never gives up on a play — that’s critical when you play 3x3. She’d get blocks from behind, steals from behind. I can remember an incredible rebound that she got in the semifinals against France. She got fouled while getting the rebound, and that helped spur us to the gold medal game. Everything you need to do to be a great basketball player, Allisha Gray can do, and she did it in some of the highest, pressurized situations while we were competing for a gold medal in Tokyo.”
Prior to the Olympics, Gray helped the U.S. women earn their berth to Tokyo with a 6-0 record at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament that was played May 26-30 in Graz, Austria. At the OQT, Gray led the USA with team-bests of 6.5 ppg. and 5.0 rpg.