In recognition of their incredible performances at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and as members of the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team this past summer, Kevin Durant has been selected to receive the 2016 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award alongside co-captain Carmelo Anthony.
This is the second such honor for Durant and the third for Anthony.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Durant said. “I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to play for my country, and I tried to go out there and play as hard as I could and represent as much as I can. I’m grateful that I played with such great teammates and a great staff that were able to help me get this award.”
“It is an incredible honor to represent the USA at the Olympics, and to be given this award for the third time, it’s just humbling,” Anthony said. “Without Kevin Durant, the rest of my teammates and an incredibly dedicated coaching staff, earning such a prestigious award like this would not be possible.”
At the 2016 Olympics, both players started in all eight games to help the USA to an 8-0 record and a gold medal from Aug. 6-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Anthony averaged a team second-best 12.1 points to go with 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 23.3 minutes per game, while Durant averaged a team-leading 19.4 ppg. to go with 5.0 rpg. and 3.5 apg. in 28.6 mpg.
“The leadership of Carmelo and Kevin on the 2016 team was crucial and obvious to anyone who watched the team play or interact, ” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “Both players played a vital rose in leading our team to gold, and we are grateful for their dedication and commitment.”
This year marks the 37th time USA Basketball has presented its Male Athlete of the Year award, which was established in 1980 to recognize a USA Basketball athlete who, during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of his team’s performance.
“Along with their amazing talent, Carmelo and Kevin brought experience and veteran steadiness to a team that had 10 first-time Olympians on it,” said Mike Krzyzewski, USA Men’s National Team and Duke University head coach, as well as the 2016 USA Basketball Co-National Coach of the Year. “Their leadership, often by example, and ability to handle difficult situations professionally and effectively were huge assets to the 2016 USA Basketball National Team. 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 became USA Basketball’s first four-time men’s Olympian, the USA’s first four-time men’s medalist and the world’s first men’s player to win three gold medals.
At the 2016 Olympics, he shot 39.3 percent from the field (33-84 FGs), 40.0 percent from 3-point (18-45 3pt FGs) and 61.9 percent from the line (13-21 FTs).
Against Australia on Aug. 10, Anthony recorded single-game tournament highs for 3-point field goals (9) and 3-point attempts (15), while also recording the fourth-highest scoring output (31 points) and tying for the second-most field goals made (11).
His 31 points against Australia on Aug. 10 tied for the second-highest, single-game output in the U.S. men’s Olympic record book, and his 15 3-point attempts in that game set a U.S. men’s record.
Among all players in the 12-team field, Anthony ranked third in 3-point field goal attempts (45), tied for third in 3-point field goals made (18) and tied for 10th in points scored (97).
In the U.S. men’s career Olympic record book, Anthony ranks first in games played (31), points (336), field goals made (113), field goals attempted (262), rebounds (125), 3-point field goals attempted (139), free throws made (53) and free throws attempted (71); and second in 3-point field goals made (57).
He also helped the USA to a 5-0 exhibition record with wins over Argentina (111-74 on July 22), China (106-57 on July 24 and 107-57 on July 26), Venezuela (80-45 on July 29) and Nigeria (110-66 on Aug. 1). He started in four of the five exhibition games and averaged 13.6 ppg., 6.8 rpg. and 1.8 apg. in 19.2 mpg.
Durant is one of 19 two-time U.S. men’s Olympians and one of 17 to win two gold medals.
At the 2016 Olympics, he shot 57.8 percent from the field (52-90 FGs), 58.1 percent from 3-point (25-43 3pt FGs) and 81.3 percent from the line (26-32 FTs).
Durant recorded the tournament’s best single-game shooting percentage by going 6-of-6 from the field against France on Aug. 14.
Among all players in the 12-team field, Durant ranked first in 3-point field goals made (25) and minutes (28.6); second in points scored (155); third in field goal attempts (90) and field goals made (52); fourth in defensive rebounds (37); tied for fourth in 3-point field goal attempts (43); fifth in points per game (19.4); tied for fifth in free throw attempts (32); and sixth in 3-point percentage (.581).
Three times he led the USA in scoring, including 25 points and six assists against China on Aug. 6, 27 points against Argentina in the quarterfinals on Aug. 17 and 30 points against Serbia in the gold medal game on Aug. 21.
In the U.S. men’s career Olympic record book, Durant is first in 3-point field goals made (59); second in points (311) and 3-point field goal attempts (108); and third in field goals made (101) and free throws attempted (59).
In the U.S. Olympic single competition record book, he is second only to himself in points (155 in 2016 and 156 in 2012) and 3-point field goals made (25 in 2016 and 34 in 2012).
During the USA’s five exhibition games, Durant started in four contests and averaged a team-high 15.6 ppg. to go with 2.8 rpg. and 2.8 apg. while playing 19.6 mpg.