Kevin Durant Reflects on Team USA's Gold Medal Run: 'One of Those Special Journeys'

Adam WellsAugust 7, 2021

Kevin Durant poses for a photo with his gold medal during the medal ceremony for basketball game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Kevin Durant added another chapter to his already historic basketball career on Saturday when he led the United States men's basketball team to an Olympic gold medal with an 87-82 win over France. 

After scoring a game-high 29 points in the victory, Durant told ESPN's Brian Windhorst being part of this U.S. squad was "one of those special journeys" because of how they had to come together. 

"When you're a part of a team that's evolving by the second, it's amazing to see," he said. "Each game we continued to grow. I'm grateful we all committed to it, we stuck with it and we finished it off."

There was some skepticism about how Team USA would fare in Tokyo after an inconsistent exhibition run saw them lose back-to-back games to Nigeria and Australia. They did bounce back with consecutive wins over Argentina and Spain before making the trip to Tokyo. 

The concerns returned in the first game of group play when the Americans lost 83-76 to France, though. It marked their first loss in Olympic play since 2004, which was the last time they didn't win gold at the Games. 

One potential issue for the team was its lack of practice time together. Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Devin Booker arrived late because they were playing in the NBA Finals, which didn't end until July 20. 

After losing to France, Team USA reeled off five consecutive wins to take home the gold for the fourth straight time. 

Durant led the way during that streak, including scoring a total of 81 points during the knockout stage. He became the highest-scoring U.S. men's basketball player in Olympic history in the final game of group play against the Czech Republic. 

The Brooklyn Nets star has now won three Olympic gold medals, tied with Carmelo Anthony for the most ever in men's basketball.