USA Basketball

Which Olympic Basketball Team Has the Most Gold Medals?

Kevin Durant and Team USA Basketball own several Olympic records

US Men's Basketball
Corbis via Getty images

Members of the United States basketball teams rarely leave the Olympics without gold medals.

The men’s team has won gold in the last three Games -- and many other times prior to that. The women’s team is seeking a seventh straight gold medal.  

Both teams head to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games looking to continue a long and storied history of global domination in the sport. 

Let’s take a look at just how dominant the teams have been by looking at some Olympic basketball records:

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Which country has the most gold medals in basketball?

The country where the game of basketball originated. The United States has dominated basketball at the Games since it became an official Olympic sport in 1936. 

The U.S. men’s basketball team has won 15 of a possible 19 gold medals, including the last three. They have also medaled in every Olympic Games other than 1980, which was boycotted by the United States, bridging the U.S. men’s medal count to 18, the most in Olympic history. 

The Soviet Union is the only other country to win multiple gold medals with two (1972 and 1988). Yugoslavia (1980) and Argentina (2004) have also captured the gold in men’s basketball.

The U.S. women’s basketball team has been equally as dominant, winning eight of a possible 11 gold medals since being added to the Olympics in 1976. They have also medaled in each Olympic Games they have competed in, winning silver in 1976, and bronze in 1992. The women will look to win a seventh straight gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

The Soviet Union women’s basketball team won the first two gold medals in 1976 and 1980 and the Unified Team captured gold in 1992.

As Elena Delle Donne prepares to head to Tokyo with Team USA, she remembers how her first pair of basketball shoes, Sheryl Swoopes’ signature sneakers, made her feel like a champion. Inspired by her sister with disabilities, Delle Donne explains why she created her own shoes designed for anyone who wants to play.

Which basketball player has the most gold medals?

Carmelo Anthony not only has more gold medals than any other men’s basketball player, he has more than every nation besides the United States.

Anthony, the only four-time Olympian in men’s basketball, won gold in 2008, 2012 and 2016 . Melo was also on the bronze-medal winning team in 2004 after his rookie season in the NBA, combining to make him the all-time leader in men’s basketball Olympic medals with four.

But Anthony has one fewer than Teresa Edwards of the U.S women’s basketball team, whose five medals are the most in the history of Olympic basketball. Edwards, who averaged 8.3 points over 32 games played, won gold in 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000, as well as bronze in 1992. Edwards incredibly is both the youngest and oldest Olympic gold medalist in women’s basketball history, winning her first at the age of 20 and her last at 36.

Edwards’ four gold medals are tied for most in women’s basketball with Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi, all of whom won a record four consecutive gold medals.  

Who is the leading scorer in Olympic basketball history?

Oscar Schmidt of Brazil has scored more points in basketball than any other Olympian, and it’s not close. That’s part of the reason why he was idolized by Kobe Bryant.  

“Kobe said he used to call me ‘La Bomba’ (the bomb in Italian),” Schmidt told the Associated Press in 2020. “In Brazil, everyone calls me ‘Holy Hand' because of my throws, but I liked his nickname for me, too."

Schmidt scored 1,093 points while competing in five Olympic Games, putting him comfortably ahead of Australia’s Andrew Gaze (789 points) and Spain’s Pau Gasol (623). Schmidt averaged 28.8 points per game, also an Olympic record.

Australia’s Lauren Jackson is the Olympics’ leading scorer in women’s basketball with a total of 575 points. The four-time Olympian, three-time WNBA MVP and 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee led Australia to three silver medals (2000, 2004, 2008) and one bronze (2012). 

Who is USA Basketball's all-time leading scorer?

No Olympian in the history of United States basketball has scored more total points than Lisa Leslie.

Leslie competed in four Olympic games, winning gold in each and scoring a total of 488 points. After averaging 15.3 points over 32 Olympic games, Leslie sits comfortably ahead of Diana Taurasi, whose 379 points are second most in the history of the U.S. women’s basketball team.

Carmelo Anthony is the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. men’s basketball team with 336 points. Anthony averaged 10.8 points over 31 Olympic games, putting him at the top of the list ahead of Kevin Durant (311 points) and LeBron James (273). He also leads the U.S. men’s team in field goals made (113), field goals attempted (262), rebounds (125), 3-point field goals attempted (139), free throws made (53) and free throws attempted (71).

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How about some other Olympic basketball records?

Most team points single-game: United States men’s team, 156 (2012)

Men’s individual single-game scoring: Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt, 55 (1988)

Women’s individual single-game scoring: Bulgaria’s Evladiya Slavcheva-Stefanova, 39 (1988)

Men’s largest margin of defeat: 100 points -- Korea 120, Iraq 20 (1948); China 125, Iraq 25 (1948)

Women’s largest margin of defeat: 66 points -- Brazil 128, Japan 62 (2004); Soviet Union 119, Italy 53 (1980)

U.S. men’s single-game scoring: Carmelo Anthony, 37 (2012)

U.S. women’s single-game scoring: Lisa Leslie, 35 (1996)

U.S. men’s single-game rebounds: DeAndre Jordan, 16 (2016); Tim Duncan, 16 (2004); James Brewer, 16 (1972) 

U.S. women’s single-game rebounds: Katrina McClain, 16 (1992, 1996)

U.S. men’s single-game assists: Kyrie Irving, 12 (2016); LeBron James, 12 (2012), Michael Jordan, 12 (1992), Leon Wood, 12 (1984); Phil Ford (1976)

U.S. women’s single-game assists: Teresa Edwards, 15 (1996)

U.S. men’s single-game blocks: Alonzo Mourning, 6 (2000); Patrick Ewing, 6 (1984)

U.S. women’s single-game blocks: Candace Parker, 4 (2012)

U.S. men’s single-game steals: Michael Jordan, 8 (1992 2x)

U.S. women’s single-game steals: Suzie McConnell, 9 (1992)

U.S men’s individual competition scoring average: Kevin Durant, 19.5 (2012)

U.S women’s individual competition scoring average: Lisa Leslie, 19.5 (1996)

U.S men’s cumulative scoring average: Kevin Durant, 19.4 

U.S women’s cumulative scoring average: Cheryl Miller, 16.5

For these Olympians, athletic ability is just one of their many talents. Meet the multi-talented athletes with passions that stretch far beyond winning the gold medal.
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