NCAA Basketball and Triple Crowns

With the NCAA basketball final tonite in the United States (which Duke will quite obviously win [disclaimer – yes, I went to Duke]), this is one of the three major basketball titles that US basketballers can win. Technically, any player could win, especially that foreign players are now much more common both in the NBA and in college basketball, but historically this has been mostly limited to American players.

How many players have managed to win the Triple Crown – winning a title at the NCAA level, in the NBA, and an Olympic gold medal? Well, its only 7 players and it hasn’t happened now in quite awhile, possibly because the top players don’t stay in college as long. Here is the list:

Name Olympics NCAA NBA
Clyde Lovelette 1952 Univ. of Kansas-1952 Lakers-1954/Celtics-1963-64
Bill Russell 1956 Univ. of San Francisco-1955-56 Celtics-1957/59-66/1968-69
K.C. Jones 1956 Univ. of San Francisco-1955-56 Celtics-1959-66
Jerry Lucas 1960 Ohio State Univ.-1960 Knicks-1973
Quinn Buckner 1976 Indiana Univ.-1976 Celtics-1984
Michael Jordan 1984/92 UNC-1982 Bulls-1991-93/96-98
Magic Johnson 1992 Michigan State Univ.-1979 Lakers-1980/82/85/87-88

Of note, Clyde Lovelette won an NBA title with the Lakers when they were the Minneapolis Lakers.

Its now been 23 years since Magic and Michael Jordan were on the Dream Team in 1992 and Magic completed his Triple Crown – Michael had already done that in 1991 when he led the Chicago Bulls to the NBA title.

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