Former NBA Player Set to Represent United States in Olympic Beach Volleyball

Mar 30, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger (10) dribbles in the second quarter against the Utah Jazz at Target Center. The Utah Jazz beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-84.
Mar 30, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger (10) dribbles in the second quarter against the Utah Jazz at Target Center. The Utah Jazz beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-84. / Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

If you thought the United States men's basketball team—Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant and friends—was the only cohort of American NBA players headed to the Paris Olympics, you would be mistaken.

One other ex-NBAer is headed to sports' biggest stage—in beach volleyball.

Chase Budinger, a forward for the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers and Suns from 2010-16, has officially qualified for the Paris Games. Budinger and partner Miles Evans punched their ticket Wednesday, with the elimination of Americans Theo Brunner and Trevor Crabb from a qualifying tournament in the Czech Republic.

A blue-chip prospect in both basketball and volleyball out of high school, Budinger chose hoops and played three productive seasons at Arizona. The Detroit Pistons made him the 44th pick of the 2009 NBA draft.

In 2018, he returned to beach volleyball, beginning a successful partnership with Evans in 2023.

Olympic competition in the sport is scheduled to open July 27.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.