Like mother, like son: Javale McGee joins mom to make golden history

Posted at 10:26 AM, Aug 07, 2021

It’s obvious basketball runs in the McGee family. Now gold medals do.

When Javale McGee and the U.S. men’s basketball team defeated France in the Olympic title game in Tokyo, he and his mother Pamela became the first American mother and son to have won Olympic gold medals.

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Pamela McGee, a basketball hall-of-famer, won her gold medal with the U.S. women’s basketball team at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

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Just three weeks ago, this endearing piece of Olympic history would not have been possible. One week before the Opening Ceremony, Javale McGee wasn’t even on the Olympic roster.

Then All-Star Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was forced to go into health and safety protocols, and Cleveland Cavaliers five-time All-Star Kevin Love withdrew from the Games citing recovery from a calf injury.

So, USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Gregg Popovich reached out to McGee and San Antonio Spurs guard Keldon Johnson to join the team.

"JaVale has been involved in our USA National Team program since 2009, and we believe he will offer a valuable inside presence," Colangelo said at the time.

SEE MORE: USA men defeat France, claim fourth-straight basketball gold medal

Pamela McGee was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. She’s a legend at the University of Southern California, where she helped the school win NCAA titles in 1983 and 1984. She is among the school’s all-time leaders in rebounds and points.

A first-round draft pick of the Sacramento Monarchs in 1997, Pamela McGee played one season there and the next year for the Los Angeles Sparks. She is the first WNBA player to have a son play in the NBA and a daughter in the WNBA. Her daughter and Javale's sister Imani McGee Stafford played three seasons in the WNBA.

Javale McGee’s basketball story is still being written. He was drafted by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft out of the University of Nevada. The veteran played last season in Denver, his second stint with the Nuggets, and also played for Philadelphia, Dallas, Golden State, Cleveland and the L.A. Lakers.

Javale McGee is a three-time NBA champion.