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A Former NBA Player Is Involved In The Olympics, Just Not In Basketball

The 2024 Summer Olympics is almost here, and I am super excited. Even as a young boy I loved watching the Olympics and would always tune in every single day. I still even watch previous Olympic events as well as qualifying matches. A lot of notable names have been involved in the Olympics including NBA players. One former NBA Player has recently qualified for the Olympics, and it is not for the sport of basketball, it is for the sport of volleyball.


Who Is This Athlete?


The NBA Player who will be in the Olympics for the Volleyball team of the USA is Chase Budinger.


Budinger was drafted in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He had a long career playing 7 seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, and Phoenix Suns.


His most notable moment in his NBA career is in the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest. This was when he almost won the event and decided to perform multiple impressive dunks. Including the one where he dunked over P Diddy, which is still so remarkable for anyone to do dunking over a human being. It's just a shame that with all the allegations surrounding P Diddy, it's unlikely that we will see highlights of that dunk during the Olympics.


Budinger even played internationally for one year in the Liga ACB/Euro League. Budinger saw the writing on the wall that his basketball career was not going in a great direction, so he ultimately decided to retire from the sport. So, he decided to make a change in his athletic career. In the sport of Volleyball, how did this come to be?

How He Started His Volleyball Journey?


Budinger in high school was a talented volleyball player. He was a part of La Costa Canyon High School Squad which won multiple championships in the San Diego Section. Budinger was one of the top hitters in the nation and was getting offers from colleges to play in volleyball.


However, he got much better offers in basketball and he decided to choose that sport over Volleyball. Which I don't blame him for doing this as he ultimately made more money in basketball than he would have if he had pursued a volleyball career.


When he left basketball in 2018, Budinger decided to return to playing volleyball professionally and I have to say, he looked like he never left the sport. Both Budinger and his teammate Miles Evans officially qualified and will represent the United States in the Men's Olympic Beach Volleyball Team


Chase Budinger Made History by Qualifying


With Budinger officially qualifying, he automatically made Olympic History. This is the first time where an athlete has played an NBA Regular Season Game in the NBA and in an Olympic Volleyball Matchup.


Technically he is not the first NBA player to play in a Volleyball game in the Olympics. That honor goes to Keith Erickson as he was on the 1964 Olympic team. He did start regular season games, but his Olympic career came first. Never has an athlete played a regular season game in the NBA 1st and then been on an Olympic volleyball team.


Budinger's story is going to be a tremendous one in the Volleyball side of the Olympics. As an American, I am happy he is representing our country in Volleyball as one of the athletes. He is the pure definition of hard work and he 100% deserves to be able to compete in the upcoming Olympics. Hopefully, Budinger and his teammate Miles Evans to win a medal in their game.


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