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Kevin Durant named USA Basketball Player of the Year for third time

2021 USA Basketball Training Camp: All-Access Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The accolades continue to pile up.

On Friday, USA Basketball announced that Kevin Durant has been named its male athlete of the year for 2020. It was KD’s third time for the honor, having won previously in 2010 and 2016. No other male player has won the award three times. Durant also becomes the second Net — and first Brooklyn Net — to be so honored. Jason Kidd was named Player of the Year in 2007. Kyrie Irving was honored in 2014 when with the Cavs.

“It’s amazing to be honored in this way,” Durant said. “First off to represent your country and do it amongst the best athletes in the world, it’s an honor. So many great athletes come through USA Basketball and the national teams in general in all sports, and so to be chosen as one of the top athletes is an honor. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and thankful that I received this award.”

Durant, of course, led Team USA to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, his third which tied him (with Carmelo Anthony) for the most golds in the 85 years of men’s basketball at the Olympics. FIBA, which organizes international basketball competitions, named Durant the Games’ MVP back in August. Both he and Patty Mills, who won a bronze for Australia, were named to FIBA’s “All-Star Five,” essentially first team All-Olympics.

The Nets tweeted out their congratulations...

KD averaged a team-leading 20.7 points per game and team second-best of 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in Tokyo. He shot 52.9 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point and 90.5 percent from the free throw line.

“As he has done before, Kevin Durant performed brilliantly on the international stage and led the way to another gold medal,” said USA head coach Gregg Popovich, who was named as a co-recipient of the 2021 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award on Dec. 15. “I remain awed by his work ethic, leadership and desire to excel.”

In addition to his achievements on the international stage, Durant has won two NBA championships, two Finals MVPs, two All-Star Game MVPs, the 2014 regular season MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2008. He is a nine-time All-NBA selection and an 11-time All-Star. In October 2021, as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary, Durant was honored as one of the 75 greatest players of all time.

Sue Bird was named the USA Basketball Women’s Player of the year.