After winning gold in a sport in which the U.S. expects nothing less, two members of Team USA took aim at their critics.
Although the U.S. has won 16 of the 20 Olympic basketball tournaments, this one was an uphill battle.
From a bevy of NBA stars turning down the chance to play for the U.S. to losses in exhibition games and an opening round defeat to France, the team was beset by doubters all the way.
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins was high on the list.
“I’m not confident at all,” Perkins said of Team USA’s chances last month.
“And it’s no disrespect, but you look at the players they have, they play cute. … They’re not guys that are going to go down there and mix it up in the trenches,” he said.
Durant and Green made sure those words came back to bite him.
“They had some power rankings out. They had us fourth behind Slovenia. Come on, man,” Durant said in an Instagram story. “Talking about they’re catching up to us, like, are you serious? This skill is unmatched, you dig?”
Green also spoke out after the gold medal match.
“You turn on American sports talk TV, and you got guys like Kendrick Perkins, you know, doubting us. Somebody needs to teach these people some loyalty. How about you cheer for your country?” he said.
“But then when guys don’t play, ‘Oh, you need to go represent the country.’ And then you lose, hit a little bump in the road. And everybody’s, ‘Oh, everybody’s caught America.’ You are an American, too. Act like it,” he scolded.
Perkins tweeted a response, congratulating Green on winning gold.
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 7, 2021
Green criticized the media for doubting Team USA.
“Do your job. You know, I do some media stuff. I understand doing your job. But when you talk about a special group, you better be sure you’re right. And a lot of people got it wrong.
“And trust me, I’ll be posting those guys. I’ll be posting everybody I found who said something. No one holds people accountable anymore, but I will.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.