Pam McGee has always had something to dangle over her son’s head.
When he was a burgeoning young star at Nevada, she would tell him he still hadn’t reached the pros. When he made the NBA, she would tell him he hadn’t won a championship. Now with three rings, there’s one plateau JaVale McGee hasn’t reached that his mom has: Olympic gold.
Time might be running out on those days now that JaVale is in Japan with Team USA basketball.
“She always talks about, ‘Yeah, y’all really not doing nothing until you get the championship,’” he said Thursday from Tokyo. “Then I got the championship, and she’s like, ‘Well, you don’t have the gold medal.’ And now I have an opportunity to get a gold medal. It’ll be amazing.”
Perhaps like no other player in the NBA, McGee has found himself chasing his mom’s legacy throughout his basketball career. Pam McGee’s women’s basketball Hall of Fame berth would have been set by her USC tenure alone: back-to-back national titles, three All-America teams, playing alongside the likes of Cheryl Miller and Cynthia Cooper. But she also secured international history by winning gold in the 1984 Olympics, the first gold medal for the Team USA women in the sport.
JaVale has always been aware of this history, although some of the details have escaped him. He recently asked Pam if she stayed in the Olympic Village in 1984: “I said, ‘J, it…