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Carmelo joins some elite company...

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With Carmelo Anthony parading around his gold medal this week, it got me thinking: how many gold medalists also won NCAA Championships? And of the players who won both, how many subsequently won an NBA Championship, as well?

In looking at 52 years of USA Basketball going back to 1956 (it should be noted that the 1952 team was coached by Kansas' Phog Allen and featured seven KU players soon after they won the NCAA Championship), I came up with a short list of 15 players who have pulled off this feat:

Bill Russell
K.C. Jones
Darrall Imhoff
Jerry Lucas
Walt Hazzard
Scott May

Quinn Buckner

Sam Perkins

Michael Jordan

Patrick Ewing

Christian Laettner

Magic Johnson

Grant Hill

Carlos Boozer

Carmelo Anthony


That's a pretty amazing list. Granted, with the influx of high school and then one-year-of-college players filing into the NBA over the last 15 years, winning an NCAA Championship isn't what it used to be, but winning is winning. And in basketball, there are only three titles worth noting: the NBA Championship, NCAA Championship and Olympic Gold Medal (I suppose the FIBA World Championship would be a distant fourth on the list).

So are winning both a gold medal and an NCAA Championship an indicator of bringing home an NBA Championship? Not necessarily. Of the players above, only five - MJ, Magic, Lucas, Russell and Jones - have all three titles on their mantle. Now that's an exclusive list.