Former NBA Player Chase Budinger Secures Spot for Paris Olympics in Beach Volleyball

Former NBA player Chase Budinger is set to make history as he heads to the Olympics, not for basketball, but for beach volleyball. The 6-foot-7 former small forward secured his bid to Paris alongside his partner, Miles Evans, after clinching the second and final men’s spot for the U.S. team, according to The Athletic.

Budinger’s journey to the Olympics marks a remarkable transition from the basketball court to the sand court. While it will be his first appearance at the Games, the 36-year-old athlete boasts a rich history with volleyball, having excelled as a multisport athlete during his high school years at La Costa Canyon High School in Encinitas, Calif.

In addition to his basketball accolades, which include being named MVP in the 2006 McDonald’s All-American Game alongside Kevin Durant, Budinger also made waves in volleyball, earning recognition as the National High School Player of the Year by “Volleyball Magazine” in 2005.

After playing three years of basketball at the University of Arizona, Budinger embarked on a successful NBA career, playing for teams like the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, and Phoenix Suns. However, his passion for volleyball never waned, leading him to retire from basketball in 2017 to pursue beach volleyball full-time.

Since then, Budinger has made his mark on the AVP tour, partnering with various players, including Sean Rosenthal, Casey Patterson, and Chaim Schalk, among others. His dedication and hard work have paid off, culminating in his qualification for the Olympics alongside Evans.

Budinger’s participation in the Olympics will make him the first athlete to compete in both Olympic beach volleyball and an NBA regular-season game, a remarkable feat that underscores his versatility and athleticism.

Joining Budinger and Evans on the U.S. Men’s beach volleyball team is Andy Benesh and Miles Partain, while Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes, as well as Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, will represent the U.S. on the women’s side.

As Budinger prepares to take on this new challenge on the world stage, he carries with him the lessons and experiences from his basketball career, coupled with his passion for volleyball. His journey exemplifies the spirit of perseverance and determination, inspiring athletes around the globe to pursue their dreams relentlessly.

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