COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Ė For just the second time in the 29-year history of USA Basketball’s annual Male Athlete of the Year award, the honor has been bestowed to a team - the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team. The selection was made by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The only other previous team recipient of the Male Athlete of the Year award was USA Basketball’s historic 1992 U.S. Olympic Team.
The USA Basketball’s Men's Senior National Team compiled a 36-1 win-loss record over three years (2006-2008), while claiming the 2008 Olympic gold medal, gold at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
The senior national team included three former Blue Devils and current Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The three former players were Shane Battier (1998-2001), Elton Brand (1998-99) and J.J. Redick (2003-06). All three earned National Player of the Year honors while at Duke and are currently in the NBA.
The 33 members of the USA Men’s Senior National Team include: Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards); Shane Battier (Houston Rockets); Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz); Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors); Bruce Bowen (San Antonio Spurs); Elton Brand (Philadelphia 76ers); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Tyson Chandler (New Orleans Hornets); Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Antawn Jamison (Washington Wizards); Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks); Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks); Shawn Marion (Miami Heat); Brad Miller (Sacramento Kings); Mike Miller (Minnesota Timberwolves); Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats); Greg Oden (Portland Trail Blazers); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets); Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics); Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons); Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks); J.J. Redick (Orlando Magic); Luke Ridnour (Milwaukee Bucks); Amar’e Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz).
Jerry Colangelo was managing director of the Men's Senior National Team program, Duke University and Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski was head coach, while Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University, Mike D’Antoni of the New York Knicks and Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers served as assistant coaches.
“It is only fitting that the entire Senior National Team be recognized for this award. There were many great individual performances, but none rise above the team effort that was given every day, whether it was in practice or a game,” said Krzyzewski, USA head coach. “Bringing together so much talent was easy because all of the players committed to Jerry Colangelo three years ago and said they wanted to be part of a team. Jerry told them Ė “we’re going to have one collective ego but we want you to bring all your egos because that’s how you get better.” We did not have one second of problem as a coaching staff with our team. It was the greatest experience of my life and the lives of the other coaches.”
In its 29th year, the USA Basketball Athlete of the Year award has been garnered by notable athletes such as Jason Kidd (2007); Carmelo Anthony (2006); Tim Duncan (2003); Reggie Miller (2002); Alonzo Mourning (2000,1990); Gary Payton (1999); Ray Allen (1995); Shaquille O’Neal (1994); David Robinson (1986 and as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team); Michael Jordan (1984 co-recipient, 1983 and as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team); and Isiah Thomas (1980).