It’s a first taste of Olympic gold for Devin Booker…
The 24-year-old half-Mexican American professional basketball player, who plays for the Phoenix Suns, and his Team USA mates held off France 87-82 on Saturday to win the men’s basketball title at the 2020 Tokyo Games — ending a summer that started with sputters but closed with celebration.
Nothing about the summer was easy for Team USA, including the gold-medal game.
The Americans expected nothing less.
And in the end, their Olympic reign lives on.
Kevin Durant scored 29 points and joined Carmelo Anthony as the only three-time men’s gold medalists in Olympic history.
“Every championship is special, and the group you’re with is special, but I can be honest and say this is the most responsibility I’ve ever felt,” said U.S. coach Gregg Popovich, who adds this gold to five NBA titles he’s won as coach for the San Antonio Spurs.
“You’re playing for so many people that are watching, and for a country, and other countries involved. The responsibility was awesome. I felt it every day for several years now. I’m feeling pretty light now and looking forward to getting back to the hotel.”
Wine was awaiting, and so was a hero’s welcome from the U.S. women’s team — which plays for gold of its own Sunday — when the men returned to the team hotel. Later Saturday night, after Australia defeated Slovenia for the bronze, Popovich and the team returned to the arena for their gold medals. One player would drape the prize over another’s neck, then they watched the U.S. flag get raised and “The Star-Spangled Banner” blare for them one more time.
“Everybody was questioning us,” U.S. forward Draymond Green. “This is special.”
Durant sealed the win with two free throws with 8.8 seconds left, making the outcome academic. The lead was five, France’s final possession was irrelevant, and it was over. The U.S. players gathered for a hug at midcourt, Durant, Green and Bam Adebayo wrapped themselves in American flags, Popovich had a long hug with his assistants and the journey was complete.