Who is JaVale McGee's mother Pamela? Only mother-son duo to win gold in Olympics history
On Saturday, August 7, Pamela McGee and her son, JaVale McGee became the first mother-son duo to win gold medals in Olympic history after JaVale secured a gold medal in basketball at the Tokyo Games, with Team USA beating France 87-82.
Thirty seven years before JaVale made his country proud, his mother Pamela, a Hall of Famer and USC Trojans legend, was doing the same as a member of the 1984 US basketball squad that defeated South Korea 85-55 to win gold at the Olympics. Pamela proudly posted her son's Olympic journey on her Instagram page, with one post reading, "Making History mother and son Olympians.. #LookatGod." Some other athletes who have made headlines at the Tokyo Olympics include Dalilah Muhammad, Raven Saunders, Oblique Seville and Steven Gardiner.
Who is Pamela McGee?
Pamela is a retired professional women's basketball player and mother of two professional basketball players. She is the first WNBA mom to have a son and daughter drafted in the NBA and the WNBA. JaVale has played in the NBA for more than a decade, while younger sister Imani McGee-Stafford played in the WNBA from 2016 to 2019. At age 34, she was the second overall pick in the 1997 WNBA Draft. Imani played in the league for two seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs and Los Angeles Sparks.
Pamela grew up in Flint, Michigan, where she attended Flint Southwestern Academy before graduating from Flint Northern High School. Even during her high school days, she started to pave a career in sports. She won two back-to-back state championships in Women's Basketball and Women's Track. McGee started her professional career with the Dallas Diamonds in the Women's American Basketball Association where she played alongside her sister Paula. She ended up setting the state record in shot put in track and field. She also was the MVP of the Parade All American game which hosted the top players in the nation.
In 1984, she won the Olympic gold in Los Angeles before embarking on a professional career including stints in Brazil, France, Italy and Spain. She was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 and has been noted as one of the few women basketball players who has won on every level. She has also appeared in the reality Show, 'Mom's Got Game'.
She is married to George Montgomery, who was drafted to the NBA with the 35th pick in the 1985 NBA draft although he never played there. Pamela successfully balanced her international basketball career with raising both children, homeschooling, coaching and teaching school in the off-season.
Pamela was JaVale's coach
Before he bagged the gold at the Olympics, JaVale revealed that his mother was never satisfied with his career achievements as she always wanted him to reach for the stars like her.
“She always talks about, ‘Yeah, y’all really not doing nothing until you get the championship,’” he told Daily News in July. “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.”
For JaVale, his mother was never "mom" to him but always "coach." She was his first trainer and is at the root of her son’s work on the court. In fact, she was so tough on him that JaVale grew frustrated with his mother and did not want to train with her when he turned 13 - a decision that Pamela accepted as she did not want her relationship with her son getting ruined.
Pamela said that she was most proud of the kind of person that JaVale had turned out to be. “One of the things that we all want when we look at our children: We want them to be resilient and good people,” she said. “All kinds of people, from the ushers, to the janitors, and the fans, to the lady in Cleveland who gave me my COVID test one time, say, ‘We love your son. He’s the kindest, nicest person we ever met.’ And they try their hardest to get to me, to go out of their way to tell me that.”