After serving as co-captains of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant now share another honor: The two have been named co-recipients of USA Basketball’s 2016 Male Athlete of the Year award.
Starters in all eight games in Rio, they helped Team USA march undefeated to its third consecutive and 15th Olympic gold medal. The first four-time Olympian on the men’s side in USA Basketball history, Anthony averaged 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists, while Durant led the team with his 19.4 points per game along with 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his second Olympic appearance.
“The leadership of Carmelo and Kevin on the 2016 team was crucial and obvious to anyone who watched the team play or interact,” said USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director Jim Tooley. “Both players played a vital role in leading our team to gold, and we are grateful for their dedication and commitment.”
The gold medal in Rio made Anthony the world’s first player to earn three Olympic titles in men’s basketball. His 31 points against Australia was the second-highest total by a U.S. men’s player in Olympic competition, powered by 15 attempts from three-point range, a U.S. men’s single game record. He connected on 39.3 percent (33-84) of his field-goal attempts, including 40.3 percent (18-45) from beyond the arc, and converted 61.9 percent (13-21) of his free throw attempts.
Durant shot 57.8 percent (52-90) from the field, 58.1 percent (25-43) from three-point range and 81.3 percent (26-32) from the line. His 6-for-6 field goal percentage against France was the best single-game shooting percentage of the tournament.
Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski lauded the pair’s leadership, which he said was critical on a team that featured 10 first-time Olympians.
“Their leadership, often by example, and ability to handle difficult situations professionally and effectively were huge assets to the 2016 USA Basketball National Team,” said Krzyzewski, the Duke University men’s coach and 2016 national team coach. “Their games translate very well to international basketball, and their numbers reflect that. I greatly admire both of these men – first as immensely talented basketball players, but even more as better people who are tremendous role models in our sport.”
Anthony receives the honor for the third time in its 37-year history, while Durant is selected for his second time.