NBA superstars Kevin Durant and Draymond Green sharply criticized American media on Saturday after Team USA won the gold medal for men’s basketball in the Tokyo Olympics.
What is the background?
Last month, ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, a former NBA player himself, voiced doubt about Team USA’s ability to win the gold medal.
“I’m not confident at all,” Perkins said. “And it’s no disrespect but you look at the players they have [Durant], [Green]— they play cute, right? In a good way, right. They get buckets? They’re not guys that are going to go down there and mix it up in the trenches.”
Perkins added that other teams played more physically, which he said was key to winning basketball games in the Olympics.
The comments, from Perkins and other sports commentators, followed two back-to-back losses by Team USA in exhibition games prior to the Olympics. The losses were notable because Team USA rarely loses basketball games on the world stage.
What did the athletes say?
After Team USA beat France to win the gold medal, Durant, who scored 29 points en route to victory, blasted critics on social media. He was joined by Green.
“Everybody who said we were going to take the L— they had some power rankings out,” Durant began before being interrupted, referring to FIBA rankings.
“Kendrick Perkins, you talk a lot of s***, a lot of s***. Act like you’re American,” Green interrupted.
Durant then continued, “They had some power rankings out. They had us fourth behind Slovenia. Come on, man. Talking about they’re catching up to us, like, are you serious? This skill is unmatched, you dig? … I had to talk my s*** real quick.”
(Content Warning: This video contains strong language):
“I had to talk to my sh*t real quick”
KD and Draymond letting the doubters have it! 🤣🤣 https://t.co/htDBi1A2vt
— Complex Sports (@Complex Sports)1628313729.0
Green continued his criticism of American media — and Perkins, in particular — at a post-game press conference in which he explained why winning gold in Tokyo felt a “lot sweeter” than winning gold in the 2016 Olympics, citing “doubters.”
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? 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.
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.
For his part, Perkins congratulated Team USA on Twitter, but said he was going to “keep talking my Sh$t.”