Team USA looks well on it’s way to their third straight gold medal, despite the fact that stars like LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry opted out. Team USA is still filled to the brim with talent. With Carmelo Anthony leading the way, becoming Team USA’s all-time leading scorer, we look at the top 5 Olympic performers, in their esteemed history.
Honorable Mentions: Vince Carter, Kevin Durant, and David Robinson.
5. Carmelo Anthony
Olympic Career (2004 Bronze, 2008 Gold, 2012 Gold): 23 games, 10.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Carmelo will surly move up this list after the conclusion of the 2016 Olympic games, but through his previous 3 this is where he stands. He had little to do with the disappointing 2004 bronze medal as he played minimal minutes, and only averaged 2.4 PPG; he was the fourth leading scorer in 2008 averaging 11 PPG. It was the 2012 Olympic games that really allowed him to separate himself from the pack, averaging 16.3 PPG, and scoring an all-time high 37 points in 14 minutes against Nigeria.
4. Kobe Bryant
Olympic Career (2008 Gold, 2012 Gold): 16 games, 13.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Kobe Bryant has done many Jordan-esque things in his career and the Olympics are no different. Like Jordan, Kobe was perfect in the Olympics, winning 2 Gold Medals in 2 tries. Kobe’s clutch gene was huge for Team USA, most notably, his 20 point, 6 assist performance in the 2008 Championship game.
3. LeBron James
Olympic Career (2004 Bronze, 2008 Gold, 2012 Gold): 24 Games, 11.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG
LeBron, like Melo, had little to do with the 2004 Olympic team, seeing as it was only their second years in the league. However, 2008, and 2012 had LeBron’s name written all over them. In the 2012 Quarter-Finals LeBron registered the first ever triple-double in Olympic play, with 11 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists. 2012 was a big year for LeBron joining Michael Jordan as the only players to win the NBA championship, NBA MVP trophy and a gold medal in the same calendar year.
2. Charles Barkley
Olympic Career (1992 Gold, 1996 Gold): 15 games, 15.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
While Charles Barkley struggled to win in the NBA, in the Olympics, he showed what he could do when surrounded by talent. In 1992 (The Dream Team) he led the way averaging 18 PPG, including a 30 point performance against Brazil. Charles 18 PPG is the second highest points per game average in Team USA history (Kevin Durants 19.5 PPG in 2012 was the most). Charles big numbers and two Gold medals cement his place as the second best performer in team USA history.
1. Michael Jordan
Olympic Career (1984 Gold, 1992 Gold): 16 games, 16 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 3.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Michael Jordan was the best the game has ever seen, and the Olympics were no different. In 1984, as a Rookie, Michael led the way to Gold averaging a team best 17.1 PPG. However, it is the 1992 Olympics, in my mind, where he really separated himself. He was the second leading scorer behind Barkley averaging 14.9 PPG, but it was his stellar defense that contributed to the Dream Teams dominance. Jordan averaged 4.6 steals per game, and nearly a block per game as well. In the first two games of the 1992 Olympics he nabbed 8 steals which is a record that will probably never be broken.