By Chris Collins
On 15 September Spain played against Argentina in the 2019 FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball) World Cup Final at the Wukesong Arena in Beijing, China.
There have been several World Cup encounters beween Spain and Argentina in the past, with Spain proving the dominant team. At Wukesong in 2019, Spain never let up, overpowering its Championship rival from start to finish. The final score was Spain 95 – Argentina 75.
The Basketball World Cup in Beijing is Spain’s second Championship win, the first being in 2006, beating Greece 70-47 in Saitama, Japan.
Of Spain’s 2019 rooster of 12 players, two will be especially remembered in the years to come by adoring fans and a country with a sagging morale that’s grateful for the bright spot. To wit: Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol.
La Roja (“The Red”, so nicknamed because of the color of the team’s uniform). came home to a hero’s welcome last Monday, the 16th, against the backdrop of a general election hanging like the sword of Damocles over Spain as a result of the politicians’ failure to reach a compromise and form a stable government out of the most recent election whose results had splintered the political panorama into several political parties.
One can safely say that Rubio and Gasol insured La Roja‘s victory in Beijing.
Following Spain’s win, Ricky Rubio has been named MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the 2019 World Cup. Whereas Marc Gasol became the first player, since Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom in 2010, to win an NBA championship and a World Cup in the same year, Gasol is also the first non-American to win an NBA title and either a World Cup or Olympic gold medal in the same year.
Moreover, both Rubio and Gasol have been chosen two of the FIBA World Cup All-Star Five. The other three are Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, France’s Evan Fournier, and Argentina’s Luis Scola.
Still basking in the glow of its recent coup on the court, La Roja is now setting its sights on the gold medal at the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.
Featured image/How Hwee Young, Pool photo by Reuters
2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup logo/ 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Fair use
Rubio and Gasol /from their Facebook pages