After the U.S. men’s basketball team lost exhibition games against Nigeria and Australia and its Olympic opener against France last month, plenty of critics came out of the woodwork ready to take their shots at the USA Basketball program. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green remembered all of them, of course.
The former Warriors teammates fired back at the haters on Friday night following Team USA’s 87-82 win over France, which gave the Americans their fourth consecutive gold medal. Durant, who had a game-high 29 points in the victory, hopped on Instagram Live and responded to everyone who had suggested his squad wouldn’t win this year’s Olympic tournament.
“Everybody who said we were going to take the L . . . They had some power rankings out. They had us fourth behind Slovenia. Come on, man,” Durant said, referring to the FIBA Power Rankings that indeed put Team USA behind Slovenia, France and Australia. “Talking about they’re 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. We’re going to the press conference, but I had to talk my s— real quick.”
Green was more specific with his response, calling out ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, who said he was “not confident at all” in Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
“Kendrick Perkins, you talk a lot of s—. A lot of s—,” Green said. “Act like you’re American.”
Oh, but Green wasn’t done yet. Here’s what he had to say during his postgame press conference (via Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times):
“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 what it’s worth, Perkins did share a congratulatory message on social media, praising Team USA for “bringing home that gold medal.”
Hell Yeah!!! Shoutout to Team USA Men’s Basketball team for bringing home that Gold Medal! In Kevin Durant we TRUST. Jrue Holiday with an impressive run over the last 4 months winning a NBA Championship and a Gold Medal!!! ???
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 7, 2021
Congratulations to Perkins and ESPN for all of the easy segments they have lined up for Monday’s shows.