Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan have several things in common. All three guys are MVPs, champions, and gold medalists, and Durant and LeBron will one day join Jordan in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
LeBron and Jordan have more MVPs and championships than Durant. While the Brooklyn Nets star is certainly eager to catch the King and MJ, he can take solace in the fact that he’s already cemented himself as a greater olympian than the two legends.
Kevin Durant named 2021 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year
Durant has been named the 2021 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. The two-time Finals MVP won his third gold medal this past summer at the Tokyo Games and owns eight Olympic men’s career records, including the top spot for points (435).
“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.”
Jordan won this award in 1983 and 1984. Meanwhile, LeBron won it in 2012. While Durant knows that NBA awards still hold more weight than Olympic awards, he should take pride in the fact that this is the third time he has been honored as the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
Kevin Durant has three USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Awards; Michael Jordan, LeBron James have three combined
Durant has won this award three times: 2010, 2016, and 2021. He shared the honor with Carmelo Anthony in 2016. The Nets superstar is one of four male basketball athletes to play in three or more Olympics and has led the USA in scoring in all three of his Olympic appearances.
“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.”
LeBron and Jordan have combined to win four gold medals and three USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Awards. Durant has captured three gold medals and three USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Awards. He has undoubtedly passed LBJ and His Airness in the Olympic GOAT ranks, but he has more work to do on the NBA side.
KD needs more titles, MVPs and Finals MVPs
Durant will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day. He has career averages of 27.1 points and has won one regular-season MVP, four scoring titles, two championships, and two Finals MVPs.
However, his résumé doesn’t stack up with LeBron or Jordan, at least not yet. LeBron is a four-time MVP, four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP, and the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists. Meanwhile, Jordan is a five-time MVP, six-time champion, six-time Finals MVP, and first all-time in points per game and player efficiency rating.
If Durant can win more championships, MVPs, and Finals MVPs, he can enter the GOAT debate with LeBron and Jordan. However, for now, KD is only better than LeBron and Jordan in the Olympic GOAT debate.