Draymond Green and Kevin Durant had words for Team USA haters following their gold medal game victory over France, calling out one ESPN analyst by name in a video message.
Green, a current member of the Golden State Warriors, and his former Bay Area teammate Durant, now with the Brooklyn Nets, clearly had some pent up negativity after listening for weeks to criticism of the US Men’s Basketball squad following two exhibition losses and a defeat at the hands of France in their first game of Olympic pool play.
The two men appeared together on a video, originally posted to Durant’s Instagram account, during which they blasted those who did not believe in Team USA, mentioning ESPN analyst and former NBA player Kendrick Perkins by name.
“Kendrick Perkins, you talk a lot of s***,” Green said in Durant’s video. “A lot of s***. Act like you American.”
Durant had words of his own.
“Everybody who said we was gonna take the L … they had some power rankings out there, they had us fourth behind Slovenia. Come on, man. Talking about they catching up to us. Like, are you serious? This skill is unmatched, you dig? Shout out to everybody that won this gold. Everybody who chipped in and helped out. We going to the press conference, but I had to talk my s*** real quick.”
Perkins responded in kind, staying true to form.
“You’re right @MoneyGreen23 (Draymond Green), I’m going to keep talking my S$it and ain’t nobody go shut me up! Congrats on winning the Gold Medal tho Champ!!! Carry the hell on…” Perk tweeted.
Team USA Overcame Shaky Start to Capture Olympic Gold
Doubt around Team USA was not a feeling unique to Perkins leading up to the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
In the US team’s first two exhibition games in Las Vegas in mid-July, they fell to Nigeria 90-87 and Australia 91-83.
International basketball is different from the game played in the NBA, and the best teams in the world aside from the US often have much more history and chemistry playing in concert on the same floor, while most American players are strictly competitors who join forces a couple of times every four years.
But while international teams may have an advanced feel for the style of play prevalent in the Olympics, along with more experience at each others’ sides, the United States has always had one distinct advantage — overall talent. That advantage proved out on Friday night.
Team USA Came Together as Olympics Progressed
Despite the slow exhibition start and the loss to France in the opening game of pool play, Team USA never doubted its talent. Three of its top seven rotation players — Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), as well as Jrue Holiday and Chris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks) — did not join the team until hours before its first Olympic contest against the French team, as they flew into Japan that morning after finishing the NBA Finals.
The Americans never lost again following that opening match, avenging their defeat to Australia (97-78) with a convincing win in the semifinals, and then defeating France in the Gold Medal Game (87-82).
Durant lead Team USA, surpassing Carmelo Anthony during this Olympics as the country’s all-time leading scorer. Green played a supporting role off the bench, adding a gold medal to the three NBA Championship rings already in his trophy case.