Pamela and Javale McGee make history as first mother and son to win Olympic gold medals

The McGees have made basketball the family business and both starred in the Games

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Last weekend, NBA star Javale McGee and his mother, USC Trojans legend Pamela McGee, made history as the first mother and son to win gold medals at the Olympics.

“Now my running gag is that I’m the only Olympian basketball player to birth an Olympian!” the matriarch teased Wednesday when the dynamic duo appeared on the third hour of TODAY.

Pamela, 58, starred for the USC Trojans who were featured in the Women of Troy documentary on HBO, is a Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer who won a gold medal in 1984. Thirty-seven years later, not only did her son also bring home an Olympic gold medal after the United States beat France 87-82 last Saturday but he’s also won three NBA titles.

Javale McGee thegrio.com
Javale McGee of Team United States bites his gold medal during the Men’s Basketball medal ceremony on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

“I’m really proud of him, of his resiliency,” McGee beamed. “As mothers, we just want them to max out their capacity and to be the best that God has called them to be.”

“It’s an amazing feeling, man,” Javale told The Associated Press‘ NBA reporter. “I’ve got a gold medal. My mother has a gold medal. We’re the first to do it, mother-son duo. It’s an amazing feeling. You can’t really explain it. Just knowing you’re the best in the world, amazing, man.”

After Javale had his Olympic gold medal, he celebrated it and his mom’s achievements with an Instagram post showing off their hardware.

It’s also worth noting that Javale joined the Olympic roster with only a single week to prepare before the opening ceremonies after former NBA champion Kevin Love had to withdraw for health reasons.

During their appearance on the daytime show, the 7-foot veteran center admitted that the Olympic experience is “totally different” from the NBA finals.

“You’re fighting for your country,” Javale explained. “Everyone in the world is watching. You’re on the world stage.”

Another athlete may have buckled under pressure after being thrown into such an intense situation on such short notice but the McGees are arguably one of the greatest basketball dynasties that this country has ever seen.

Pamela and her twin sister Paula McGee won back-to-back NCAA championships as All-Americans at the University of Southern California. Pam played overseas and for two WNBA teams, the Sacramento Monarchs and the Los Angeles Sparks. Pam’s daughter, Imani McGee-Stafford, is a first-round pick in the WNBA and currently pursuing a law degree. 

This means that in addition to making Olympic history, Pam is also the only WNBA player to ever have a son and daughter drafted into the NBA and the WNBA. 

“What I instilled in both of my children is to max out your capacity. Never be a child that says, ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda,'” she explained while discussing her views on parenting. “I was born to a teenage mother that had twins at 17, and she instilled that spirit of excellence and resiliency. I just hope that I passed that down to them, and they understand that they didn’t just wake up and become Olympians. Somebody sacrificed, somebody paid a price and it’s their obligation to take it the next level.”

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