Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan stated ahead of Team USA's quarterfinal clash with Argentina at the 2016 Summer Olympics that capturing a gold medal is a bigger achievement than winning an NBA championship.
Marc Stein and Mark Schwarz of ESPN.com passed along comments Wednesday from the 28-year-old veteran about what it would mean for him to help lead the United States to gold, as the favored squad tries to shake off a couple of lackluster showings heading into the knockout rounds:
I think they're above NBA rings. I may get in trouble for saying that, but I believe that. I feel like this is more special. You're not just playing teams in the U.S. You're playing teams from all over the world. And this is even more special because there's an NBA champion crowned every year, but this is every four years.
You've got to really think about that, man, because it's extremely special.
Jordan has spent his entire career with the Clippers since getting selected in the second round of the 2008 draft, and he has never advanced beyond the NBA's conference semifinals in the competitive West.
In contrast, he's now just three victories away from a gold medal. His view about the importance of that was previously expressed by Team USA teammate Carmelo Anthony, who also talked to Stein about the limited number of chances to chase Olympic gold.
"Of course, because we play in the NBA that's always the goal: to win an NBA championship," the New York Knicks star said. "But every year [there's] a new champion, so you have an opportunity to compete for a championship every year. This is every four years."
It's an interesting debate. The opportunity to represent the United States in the Summer Games is far rarer than playing in the NBA and competing for a title, but when talking about who's the greatest of all time, the discussion begins with Michael Jordan's six NBA titles, not his two gold medals.
That's probably because the journey to win an NBA championship is typically more difficult than the United States' gold-medal quest. The star-studded American roster usually cruises through most of the tournament before taking the top spot on the podium.
Jordan and Co. are meeting much more resistance this year, though. With LeBron James and Stephen Curry opting for rest rather than a busy summer in Rio, Team USA has been forced to survive some close calls, including back-to-back three-point wins over Serbia and France.
So maybe in that regard, with the Americans truly needing to fight for this year's gold, Jordan's feelings on the subject may carry some weight. But it's unlikely the general consensus will shift from NBA titles to Olympic gold medals in the hierarchy to determine basketball greatness.