Top 10 Incredible Performances of 2021

MIES (Switzerland) - There were plenty of jaw-dropping performances from international basketball stars in 2021.

It happened in continental championships, at the Olympics and in premier club competitions. The sport's biggest stars shone brightly and did so when the stakes were extremely high.

We've handpicked some of the finest displays.

Luka Dončić, July 26

In Slovenia's 118-100 win over Argentina in the Olympic opener for both sides, Dončić had 48 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. He walked off the court with an astonishing +49 efficiency.

Rui Machida, August 6

Did it really happen? Were there really 18 assists - an Olympic single-game record - dished out by Japan point guard Machida against heavyweights France at the Olympics? Machida mesmerized with her playmaking all tournament long, and especially so in the 87-71 victory that lifted her team into the Gold Medal Game.

Patty Mills, August 7

Mills reminded everyone why he's called "FIBA Patty" by pouring in 42 points and dishing out 9 assists to lead Australia past Slovenia, 107-93, in the Bronze Medal Game of the Olympics. It was an epic effort by Mills as the Boomers ended their hoodoo at the big international events by reaching the podium of the Olympics or World Cup for the first time in history.

Jonquel Jones, June 26

There may never be a more commanding, awe-inspiring performance at a FIBA Women's EuroBasket than the one that 1.98M (6'6") Jones turned in for Bosnia and Herzegovina against Sweden. With a spot in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament field at stake, Jones piled a whole bunch of hurt on the Swedes and finished with a +51 efficiency. She led her team to an 82-63 victory.

Walter 'Edy' Tavares, August 24 and September 2

We have to tip our hats to Edy, who had two remarkable FIBA AfroBasket games in which he finished with a +39 efficiency. In an opening day win over Angola, the 2.20M (7'3") center had 20 points, 18 rebounds and 6 blocks! Then the big fella rocked Uganda's world in the Quarter-Finals with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 5 swats. 

Walter Hodge, February 22

The word unstoppable comes to mind when reflecting on Hodge's second game against Canada in the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 Qualifiers. The 1.80M (5'11") point guard poured in 44 eye-popping points on fast breaks, drives into the paint, shots from both the perimeter, and the charity stripe. He was 14 of 20 from the floor, including 6 of 11 from deep, and he was a perfect 10 of 10 at the line. He walked off the floor with a sky-high +44 efficiency.

Emma Meesseman , June 23

One always hears or sees the word "excellent" when the subject matter is Meesseman because in nearly every game she plays, the Belgium start truly is outstanding, yet always within the framework of the team. Meesseman is a great scorer, rebounder and passer. She does what's needed to be done to win, and on this day in the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021, she had 33 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for a +40 efficiency as the Cats held off upset-minded Russia. To add some context, the triumph kept Belgium on course for the podium, and also clinched a spot in one of the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournaments.  

Hu Jinqiu, July 25

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It's one thing to be a big-time scorer and something else to pour in 17 of your team's 18 points in a 3x3 game! That's what Hu did in Tokyo in a 21-18 defeat to the Netherlands. The 2.10m (6ft 11in) Hu revealed himself to be a real tower of power. 

Arsalan Kazemi, November 26

The tough-as-nails, hustling Kazemi didn't just lead Iran to an 82-66 victory over Bahrain. He did so in epic fashion, with a triple-double, and a World Cup Qualifiers record 26 rebounds! Along with that amazing rebound total, he also had 10 points and 12 assists.

Alina Iagupova, March 17

It doesn't get any better than turning in a great performance in an MVP campaign in a pivotal battle against a rival. The Ukrainian erupted for a season-high 32 points on 11 of 16 shooting and also dished out 7 assists while earning a +40 efficiency as her Fenerbahce team defeated Galatasaray, 91-74, in the first leg of their EuroLeague Women Quarter-Final showdown.