Ex-NBA player Chase Budinger makes Olympics in beach volleyball

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Thursday, June 6, 2024

Former college basketball standout and seven-year NBA veteran Chase Budinger will head to Paris next month to compete for the United States' beach volleyball team in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Budinger and partner Miles Evans qualified Wednesday for the U.S. men's team. They are tied for 13th in the most recent world rankings and are the No. 2 U.S. team behind Miles Partain and Andy Benesh, ranked No. 5.

Budinger, 36, grew up playing basketball and volleyball, starring in both at La Costa Canyon High School in Encinitas, California. A 2006 McDonald's All American in basketball, he also was named Volleyball Magazine's National High School Player of the Year in 2005.

The 6-foot-7 athlete played college basketball at Arizona, where he averaged 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 100 games (all starts) over three seasons (2006-09).

Selected in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft, Budinger played 2009-16 and averaged 7.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists with the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns in 407 games (50 starts).

He played a season in Europe before shifting to beach volleyball, joining the AVP Tour in 2018.

"Most guys, when they finish a sport, they're kind of confused, or they're kind of lost for the next journey," Budinger said on the Sandcast volleyball podcast in 2018. "I was lucky enough to just transition into a different sport immediately and play at the highest level."

Budinger will become the only person to play a regular-season game in the NBA and Olympic beach volleyball, per NBC Sports.

Keith Erickson, a member of UCLA's 1964 and 1965 NCAA championship basketball teams, was a member of the 1964 U.S. men's indoor volleyball team. The Americans finished ninth in the tournament in Tokyo. Erickson went on the win the NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972.

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