PHILADELPHIA - Kyle Lowry wasn't the most celebrated of players to be named to the USA Olympic squad, but by the time he stepped onto the podium to receive his gold medal, there was no disputing that he'd been among the most important.
After that game, USA coach Mike Krzyzewski made sure to mention Lowry in his opening remarks at his press conference.
"I thought Kyle Lowry just gave us a huge spark," he said.
Great teams like the USA have players that contribute in different ways. Among DeAndre Jordan's roles were to protect the rim, rebound and play with an unrivaled ferocity in the paint. He did all of that well, and more.
Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Carmelo Anthony were the USA's explosive scorers and performed well in that regard, although all three did much more, too.
Lowry? The point guard was one of the first players off the bench. The team never missed a beat when he was in the game. In fact, when Lowry played, the USA usually turned it up a notch.
"I was able to give back to my country and bring it back. There's nothing better than that." - Lowry
After returning home to his native Philadelphia, Lowry talked to the Philadelphia Inquirer about his gold-medal winning summer. When asked about the biggest compliment that he'd received, Lowry remembered something assistant coach Jim Boeheim had told him.
"Coach Boeheim said something unbelievable," Lowry recalled. The Toronto Raptors playmaker said that Boeheim, the long-time coach at Syracuse University, had called him "the best team player" on the USA squad.
Lowry says there were other compliments.
"Just my teammates respecting me, and respecting what I've done, and Coach K saying some nice comments, but just the fact I can bring the medal back home, that was a compliment in itself," he explained.
"It was an honor for me to do that. I was able to give back to my country and bring it back. There's nothing better than that."