As a likely member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team this summer in London, Anthony Davis has the chance to be one of the most accomplished basketball players ever in a single calendar year. Davis, already a National Champion, Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, and winner of 6 National Player of the Year Awards, will likely also be the #1 pick in the draft and quite possibly an Olympic Gold Medalist all in one calendar year. Below is a list of others who have put together similar achievements in a single calendar year. Perhaps, you’ve heard of them…
Bill Russell (1956): National Champ, 2nd overall pick in NBA Draft, Olympic Gold Medalist
Jerry Lucas (1960): National Champ, MOP of Final Four, Olympic Gold Medalist
Michael Jordan (1984): Olympic Gold Medalist, 4 NPOY Awards, 3rd overall pick in NBA draft
Patrick Ewing (1984): National Champ, MOP of Final Four, 1st overall pick (edit: not in the same season), Olympic Gold Medalist
Christian Laettner (1992): National Champ, 7 NPOY Awards, 3rd overall pick, Olympic Gold Medalist
Michael Jordan (1992): NBA Champ, NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, Olympic Gold Medalist
Kobe Bryant (2008-09 ): NBA Champ, NBA MVP, Olympic Gold Medalist
Jordan’s accomplishments in ’92 and Kobe’s in 2008 are obviously incomparable to the feats of college players, but out of Olympians who have competed before playing their first NBA game, I’d give the nod to Patrick Ewing and the guy from Duke for having the most impressive accomplishments in a single calendar year; however, Davis has a chance to out-perform both of those guys.
Ewing didn’t win any National Player of the Year Awards in 1984 (he did in 1985) and Laettner didn’t win the Final Four MOP (Bobby Hurley did). Laettner also was not the the first pick in the NBA Draft as Davis will be.
If Davis is drafted #1, makes the Olympic team, and wins a Gold Medal…is he the most accomplished player in a single calendar year in basketball history? I’d say it would be hard to argue otherwise, and he had a 3.7 GPA through it all.
Agree? Disagree? Did I leave anyone out of the conversation? Sound off in the comments section or let me know via Twitter @wilmhoffKSR.