Michael Jordan is one of just eight players to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic Gold Medal. There are also a few other notable names on this list, but let’s start with Jordan. Jordan won his first two titles as a College student at North Carolina. He carried that momentum over to the NBA, where he won another two NBA Championships before playing for the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics.
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In a match-up of the greatest basketball players ever, Michael Jordan was destined to be the best. He was incredibly talented, but had to overcome a number of obstacles in order to complete his legacy as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
Not every collegiate basketball player has made it to the NCAA Final Four. Not every NBA player has ever made it to the NBA Finals. And not every basketball player in the United States has won an Olympic gold medal. That is just how basketball (or any other sport) operates. Some players have never won any of the championships listed above, while others have won one or two. However, just eight players in NBA history have been fortunate (or lucky) enough to win all three, including Michael Jordan is a basketball player who was born in, Bill Russell, and Magic Johnson is a well-known basketball player..
Clyde Lovellette is a character in the film Clyde Lovellette
Clyde Lovellette was the first player to win an NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA championship all in the same season.
In 1952, the three-time All-American led the University of Kansas to its first-ever NCAA Tournament championship, scoring 33 points and collecting 17 rebounds in the Jayhawks’ 80-63 win against St. John’s. Lovellette then went on to lead the United States team in scoring in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, averaging 13.9 points per game while leading the team to an undefeated 8-0 record and a gold medal.
The Minneapolis Lakers selected him as the ninth overall selection in the 1952 NBA draft, but he had to wait a year to join the club. But Lovellette’s winning run continued in that first season, as he led the Lakers to their third consecutive NBA championship. In his last two seasons in the league, he won championships with the Boston Celtics in 1963 and 1964.
Bill Russell and K.C. Jones
We’ll group K.C. Jones and Bill Russell together in this section since they achieved the accomplishment jointly. In 1955 and 1956, the pair won back-to-back NCAA championships at the University of San Francisco, and both were selected to represent the United States in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.
Russell, who was chosen team captain, led the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game, while Jones was fourth on the squad with 10.9 points per game, guiding the US to an 8-0 record and gold. They were both drafted by the Celtics in the NBA draft in 1956 and went on to win eight championships in Boston together. Russell would go on to win 11 championship rings in his career, the most in history.
Jerry Lucas is an American film director and producer.
Jerry Lucas, a freshman at Ohio State, led the Buckeyes to a national championship in 1960, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the final game against Cal-Berkeley. He subsequently went on to represent the United States in the Rome Olympics that summer, where he was the team’s second-leading scorer behind Oscar Robertson, averaging 16.8 points per game as the Americans went 8-0 on their route to gold.
After two more seasons at Ohio State (during which he was voted unanimous National Player of the Year), Lucas was drafted second overall in the 1962 NBA draft by the Cincinnati Royals, where he played with Robertson but never won a championship. Lucas only became a member of this elite group after winning his lone NBA championship with the New York Knicks in 1973, his final season in the league.
Quinn Buckner is the next player on the list, having led Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers to a perfect 32-0 record and a national title as a senior. He was subsequently a part of the United States Olympic team that went unbeaten in Montreal in 1976, and he was the team’s fifth-leading scorer, averaging 7.3 points per game.
Buckner subsequently went on to play in the NBA for ten years, winning his only title with the Boston Celtics in 1984.
Michael Jordan with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls in 1991 | Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images Michael Jordan at the NCAA championship game in 1982; Michael Jordan in the Olympics in 1984; Michael Jordan with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls in 1991 Mitchell Layton/Getty Images; Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
In 1982, Michael Jordan won his first NCAA championship as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, memorably shooting the game-winning jumper in the final game to beat Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas. MJ entered the NBA after his junior season with the Tar Heels, but not before guiding Team USA to an unbeaten record and a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Jordan was the leading scorer for the United States, averaging 17.1 points per game.
MJ became a member of this elite group in 1991, when he led the Chicago Bulls to their first of six NBA titles, and in 1992, as a part of the famous Dream Team, he earned a second gold medal.
Magic Johnson was the only guy who gained membership in this elite group via a different method. Magic accomplished the first leg of the trifecta in 1979, when he memorably led his Michigan State Spartans to victory against Larry Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores in the NCAA Championship Game.
He is, however, the only member of this group to have won an NBA championship prior to earning Olympic gold. Johnson won his first championship as a rookie with the Lakers, followed by four more in the 1980s. Johnson earned his gold medal with the Dream Team in 1992, despite never having the opportunity to participate in the Olympics as an amateur. Magic is one of just three players on this list who also won a high school title, the others being Lucas and Buckner.
Anthony Davis is a professional basketball player.
Anthony Davis, who finished his lone season at the University of Kentucky by guiding the Wildcats to a national title in 2012, is the newest member of the club. Davis was added to the United States national team squad when Blake Griffin sustained a knee injury shortly after being selected with the first overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets. Davis only played 7.4 minutes per game and averaged 3.7 points per game in London, but he still managed to earn some hardware as the United States went unbeaten on their route to gold.
After winning his first NBA championship in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers with LeBron James in 2020, AD became a member of this elite group. He’ll be the newest member of the club for at least another three years, since no one on the 2021 Team USA roster has ever won an NCAA championship. And based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s a good possibility the team won’t even compete for gold in Tokyo.
Sports Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Michael Jordan and LeBron James are among a select group of athletes who have won both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal in the same year.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- players with ncaa and nba championships and gold medal
- michael jordan
- nba players who have won high school, college and nba championships
- current nba players with ncaa championships
- win ncaa and nba title