Newly crowned Olympic gold medalist Kevin Durant and Draymond Green fired back at the media on Saturday for a lack of support in Tokyo following a rough start, telling the critics: “You are an American, too. Act like it.”
Team USA narrowly defeated France 87-82 in the gold medal match to earn America’s fourth consecutive gold in the event. The U.S. has long dominated the sport, winning 16 titles in 19 appearances, but Tokyo hadn’t started off the way the American’s had hoped.
After losing both exhibition matches and the Olympic opener against France, the U.S. fought its way through the group stages to advance to the knockout round but doubt had set in before the U.S. set foot in Tokyo.
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins was among the most notable critics.
“I’m not confident at all,” he said during an appearance on “The Jump” last month. “And it’s no disrespect but you look at the players they have (Durant), (Green), they play cute. In a good way, right. They get buckets. They’re not guys that are going to go down there and mix it up in the trenches.”
Durant and Green seemed to remember those remarks and had a message for Perkins after taking home the gold.
“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 on his Instagram stories. “Talking about they’re catching up to us, like, are you serious? This skill is unmatched, you dig?
“Kendrick Perkins, you talk a lot of s—. A lot of s—,” Green chimed in. “Act like you’re American.”
Green addressed the issue further during his post-game press conference, calling out the media in general.
“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.”
He continued: “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.”
Perkins responded on Twitter congratulating Team USA but added: You’re right (Green)I’m going to keep talking my Sh$t and ain’t nobody go [sic] shut me up! Congrats on winning the Gold Medal tho Champ!!! Carry the hell on…”