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10 Kyrie Irving (USA)
18/08/2016
News
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Comparing Olympic gold to NBA title

RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) - USA players have been asked the question before, whether winning an NBA title or an Olympic gold medal is a greater and more significant achievement.

LeBron James, before he reached the top of the podium at the Beijing Games in 2008, made his position very clear.

"This is bigger," James said ahead of the title showdown against Spain. "Being a part of the game (Gold Medal Game) on Sunday is the biggest thing for me, ever.

"When I got to the (2007 NBA) Finals, I thought that was big. But winning an NBA championship would never compare to winning a gold medal for my country."

James celebrated his second Olympic title in London

DeAndre Jordan, a center on the USA team that is unbeaten at the Rio de Janeiro Games, is unequivocal on the subject .

"I think they're (gold medals) above NBA rings," Jordan said to ESPN. "I may get in trouble for saying that, but I believe that. I feel like this is more special. You're not just playing teams in the US. You're playing teams from all over the world.

"And this is even more special because there's an NBA champion crowned every year, but this is every four years. You've got to really think about that, man, because it's extremely special."

Jordan says Olympic gold is 'above NBA rings'

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving puts winning an Olympic gold right up there with the NBA championship.

Irving and James won the NBA Finals with Cleveland in June.

On Wednesday, Irving took a step closer to winning the Olympic crown when the USA won against Argentina, 105-78, in their Quarter-Final.

Which does he value more? He went on Snapchat to explain his position.

Irving said: "There was a statement released earlier that I thought that an NBA championship and a gold medal were the same thing. What's great about that is that it's in my opinion. Meaning that I personally feel that way.

"It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it. I do know that the journeys are different between getting a gold medal and winning an NBA championship. The competition is different.

"There are a lot of things that factor (into it). In terms of the feeling and the accomplishment, in my opinion, for me, they're almost the same. Because neither one is guaranteed. There’s no guarantee that we’re gonna win a gold medal. There's no guarantee going into the season that you’re going to win an NBA championship."


2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup MVP Irving is gunning for Olympic gold

"So, for me, I appreciate the journey and the reward… And I've lived my way on my terms. And I will continue to do so. It's funny to see all the different opinions and thoughts on it. But for me personally, it's an accomplishment that I will remember for the rest of my life if it happens."

What is not up for debate is that the players in the USA team are enjoying the Olympics.

After their convincing performance against Argentina, Kevin Durant, an Olympic gold medal winner in London four years ago, took note of the special atmosphere in international basketball.

"You could tell out there tonight Argentina and their fans, their pride for their country was on another level," he said. "And then you hear our fans right behind them. To hear them chanting U-S-A, it gave me chills."

FIBA