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Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant Named 2021 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year

  • Date:
    Dec 17, 2021

After he captured his third Olympic gold medal (2012, 2016, 2020) this past summer at the Tokyo Games, Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets/Texas/Washington, D.C.) 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.”

USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award Winners
2021 Kevin Durant 1999 Gary Payton
2019 Robbie Hummel 1998 Elton Brand
2018 Reggie Hearn 1997 Earl Boykins
2017 Jameel Warney 1996 Scottie Pippen
2016 Carmelo Anthony & Kevin Durant 1995 Ray Allen
2015 Jalen Brunson 1994 Shaquille O’Neal
2014 Kyrie Irving 1993 Michael Finley
2013 Aaron Gordon 1992 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team
2012 LeBron James 1991 Christian Laettner
2011 Jabari Parker 1990 Alonzo Mourning
2010 Kevin Durant 1989 Larry Johnson
2009 James McAdoo 1988 Dan Majerle
2008 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team 1987 Danny Manning
2007 Jason Kidd 1986 David Robinson
2006 Carmelo Anthony 1985 Chuck Person
2005 Sheldon Williams 1984 Michael Jordan & Sam Perkins
2004 Sean May & Chris Paul 1983 Michael Jordan
2003 Tim Duncan 1982 Glenn Rivers
2002 Reggie Miller 1981 Kevin Boyle
2001 Chris Duhon 1980 Isiah Thomas
2000 Alonzo Mourning

This is the third time Durant has been honored as the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. He also was recognized with the award in 2010, and he shared the honor in 2016 with Carmelo Anthony.

“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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