DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers has claimed that winning gold medals at the Olympics should be regarded as more honorable than getting an NBA championship ring. The athlete made the statement earlier this week after Team USA prepares for its quarterfinal match against Argentina at the Rio Olympics.
According to the Clippers center, the basketball community should change the way it views the achievement of players. As noted by Jordan, being able to take home the gold at international events such as the Olympics is more special than national championships.
"I think they're above NBA rings," he told 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 U.S. 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."
The debate surrounding NBA rings and Olympic medals started after Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, whose also on Team USA, came closer to taking home his third gold medal at the Olympics. If this happens, he would be the first U.S. Olympian to win three gold medals in men's basketball, according to CBS Sports.
Like Jordan, Anthony has not yet won an NBA ring, unlike their Team USA teammates Kyrie Irving and Daymond Green. Still though, Anthony believes that being an accomplished Olympian outweighs being an NBA champion.
For him, even though he never gets the chance to get an NBA ring, he's happy with his Olympic gold medals.
"Most athletes don't have an opportunity to say that they won a gold medal, better yet three gold medals," he said. "I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I've given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, and possibly three gold medals."
"I can look back on it when my career is over - If I don't have an NBA championship ring - and say I had a great career," he added.