Kevin Durant has scored more points than any player in U.S. men’s basketball history, he has tied the record for the most Olympic gold medals in the sport, and he has played like a super hero in three gold medal games.
So, yes, Kevin Durant officially has become Captain America.
Not all heroes wear capes — the actual Captain America doesn’t. But on Saturday, the United States flag fittingly was draped around Durant like a cape on the shoulders of the hero who just led his country to gold.
Durant scored 29 points to lead the U.S. to a 87-82 win over France in the men’s basketball final, giving Team USA a fourth straight gold medal.
It was the third for Durant, who tied Carmelo Anthony for the most gold medals in the history of men’s basketball at the Olympics. Durant has averaged 29.7 points in his three gold medal games, showing remarkable consistency by scoring 30 in 2012 against Spain, 30 in 2016 against Serbia and 29 against France on Saturday.
“Well, it’s winning time,” Durant said during his postgame interview on NBC. “I mean, it’s one game or you go home, it’s no series. So, I gotta give my all every second I’m out there.”
The Washington, D.C. native and Brooklyn Nets star scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half, including a 3 that put the U.S. up 12 midway through the second quarter. He was quiet in the fourth until he drained a pair of gold-medal clinching free throws with eight seconds left.
Those final points in what was his third Olympic appearance brought his scoring total to 406 points, as he continues to distance himself from Anthony, whose record of 336 points was broken by Durant during pool play in Tokyo.
Durant became the first U.S. player to score more than 100 points in three different Olympic Games. He also became team’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 71 and free throws made with 61.
And there’s still a chance Durant can add to those numbers if he opts to play in the 2024 Paris Olympics when he is 36 years old.
“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Durant said when asked if he’ll chase a record-breaking fourth gold medal.
Winning the third was a challenge. Durant spoke of how the Tokyo Olympics was unlike any other as the team faced unprecedented circumstances.
“We went through some real adversity, we lost a game in the tournament, we lost two exhibition games,” Durant said. “We had some unusual circumstances with COVID, guys playing in the Finals and coming in late, and we just fought through everything. Two and a half weeks away from my family, basically in the bubble. So, it was definitely different. So, I’m glad we finished the job.”
Durant helped Team USA overcome some early concerns and doubts about the team’s dominance no longer being at the level of their Dream Team predecessors. The road to gold was a long and winding one, with lopsided victories no longer a certainty for the United States. But in the end Durant helped prove that Team USA’s global reign continues.
“They had some power rankings out, they had us fourth, behind Slovenia,” Durant said on Instagram Live after the game. “Come on, man. Talking about they catching up to us. Like, are you serious? This skill is unmatched. You dig? Shoutout to everybody that won this gold. Everybody that chipped in and helped out.”
No one helped more than Captain America.
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.