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Chase Budinger, a former NBA player, punches ticket to represent US in beach volleyball at Paris Olympics

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Chase Budinger already put together a more-than-commendable career in one sport. A five-star recruit out of California, he became a First-Team All-Pac 12 player at Arizona before compiling a nine-year NBA career as as sharpshooting wing.

Now the 36-year-old has reached a pinnacle in a different sport.

The United States announced Wednesday that Budinger clinched the final spot on the Olympic beach volleyball team that will compete at the Paris Games this summer. Budinger and playing partner Miles Evans beat out Theo Brunner and Trevor Crabb with a late surge in qualifying.

Heading into qualifications, Budinger and Evans ranked fourth in the country but pushed up to earn the country’s second spot. They are ranked No. 13 in the world.

Budinger was a standout volleyball player in high school before focusing on basketball, earning Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year honors in indoor volleyball.

After playing in the NBA from 2009-17 and one year internationally in Spain, Budinger began making the transition to beach volleyball in 2018.

He will become the first person to play in an NBA regular-season game and an Olympic beach volleyball match. Keith Erickson was an Olympian in indoor volleyball in 1964 before playing 12 seasons in the NBA.

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