Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant admitted it was a "special journey" after leading Team USA to gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Durant came up big in the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, having scored a game-high 29 points in a 87-82 win over France.
Durant went to work early as 21 of his 29 points came in the first half. France managed to contain Durant a bit better in the second half but it wasn't enough as the Nets star also had six rebounds and three assists.
Team USA lost two friendly games before the start to the Tokyo Olympics and then they lost to France in their Tokyo opener. However, Team USA overcame adversity and managed to win gold for the fourth consecutive time. "This is one of those special journeys," Durant said, per ESPN.
"When you're a part of a team that's evolving by the second, it's amazing to see. Each game we continued to grow. I'm grateful we all committed to it, we stuck with it and we finished it off."
Durant earns praise from coach Gregg Popovich
"KD is not special because he's so talented.
The way he works on his game is more impressive," Popovich said. "The relationship he builds with teammates, the respect he garners, the joy he has in playing, it's like osmosis. It goes into all the players."
Durant now has three gold medals and three NBA titles. "Kevin Durant is exactly who we thought he was," said Draymond Green, who won two titles with him in Golden State as well as the 2016 Olympic gold. "He's one of the greatest players to ever play this game.
One of the most special guys you've ever seen lace their shoes up and take a basketball court." Popovich and Green weren't the only ones to praise Durant as USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo did the same.
"He is a very special guy. He loves the game. He loves USA basketball," Colangelo said. "He's got that kind of character." Meanwhile, Milwaukee Bucks' Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton won gold medal less than a month after winning their first NBA title.
"I guess me thinking about it and me telling the story, that's a hell of a summer," Holiday said. Popovich felt relieved after Team USA managed to win gold medal. "Every championship is special, every group you're with is special, but I can be honest and say this is the most responsibility I've ever felt," Popovich said. "The responsibility is awesome, and I felt it every day for several years. I'm feeling pretty wiped out."