Olympian Allisha Gray came home to Dallas with a shiny new accessory: a gold medal.Christian Petersen/Getty
The Dallas Wings don't just have an Olympian on the WNBA team's roster. It has a gold-medal-winning Olympian.
Guard Allison Gray is one of the four women on the U.S. women's 3X3 basketball team who defeated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The event was added to this year's summer games, making them the first team in Olympic history to win gold in women's 3X3 basketball.
"When I left Dallas a month ago, I left with one goal in mind, to win a gold medal," Gray said at a press conference held at Reunion Tower on Wednesday. "To be able to say I'm an Olympian is one thing, but to be able to say I'm a gold medalist is an incredible feeling."
Gray — along with her teammates Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young from the Las Vegas Aces and Stefanie Dolson of the Chicago Sky — went into the final round against the ROC leading with a tournament record of 6-1. Team USA's only loss went to Japan in the preliminary round.
"I'm pretty sure everybody who goes to the Olympics has gold in their head," Gray said. "The main goal for me was not to come back empty-handed, but I knew I want to win gold. I go into every game thinking I'm gonna win. I never doubt myself. I was thinking gold medal the whole time."
Gray started the final game with the first point on the board thanks to a free throw shot just 10 seconds into the game. From then on, Team USA maintained its lead against Russia to the very end with a gold medal-winning score of 15-13. Gray clocked in four points and an impressive total of six board rebounds to help her team along to victory.
"She's always been a playmaker," says Karima Christmas-Kelly, a former teammate and friend who now plays for the Minnesota Lynx. "She's always been able to take a lot of people off the bounces but I think her toughness and her defensive style was a major factor in those games because 3X3 goes by super-fast. It's 15 minutes and it's over and a lot of those key blocks down the stretch and being able to maintain and keep her opponent in front of her is something I was really proud of."
The new Olympic basketball event is played half-court with one basket and three players on the court and one sideline alternate per team. Each game lasts for one 10-minute round or until one team reaches 21 points with no stops between baskets except for fouls. Free throws and shots from inside the arc are one point and shots behind the three-point line are worth two points, according to Team USA's page.
Olympic gold medalist and Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray pals around with her Dallas teammates at a press conference on Wednesday at the top of Reunion Tower.
Gray has been training with Team USA for almost a year in the off-season. Dallas Wings head coach Vickie Johnson said she knew the Dallas team's guard would make it on the Olympic team and called her victory nothing short of "amazing."
"It's a huge sacrifice to be on a national team because you leave your egos at home," Johnson said at the conference. "You have one common goal, and that's to win the gold. It's not about you as an individual. It's about how you can help the team win — and that's what they did."
Gray was the last player on the court holding the ball. Anastasia Logunova made her team's final 2-point shot with just two seconds left in the game as Gray froze out play to run down the clock. From the moment the final buzzer sounded with Team USA ahead by two points, Gray said, it took a few seconds for her to realize she and her team became the first 3X3 women's basketball gold medal winners in Olympic history.
"I actually couldn't believe it," Gray said with her gold medal hanging from her neck. "I had an out-of-body experience like I'm about to actually get the real gold medal. I'm an Olympian and a gold medalist. I couldn't believe this was happening. All the sacrifices I took throughout my career, it was worth it."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune,Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.