May 23, 2024

FIBA World Cup is toughest trophy to win in basketball, says global ambassador Pau Gasol

FIBA World Cup is toughest trophy to win in basketball, says global ambassador Pau Gasol

Former NBA champion and World Cup winner Pau Gasol has joined Luis Scola as FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 global ambassador. That makes two all-world big men promoting FIBA’s flagship event, which gets underway this August in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.

"This is a great honor for me to be a part of such a great team of basketball legends and to join Luis Scola, a true legend and one of my toughest rivals, in this role as global ambassador for the 2023 World Cup,” Gasol said of his new designation.

Gasol, who retired in 2021, knows quite a lot about the FIBA World Cup. He played in three of them in his illustrious 23-year career as a professional—when he introduced himself to the world stage in 2002, when he led Spain’s gold medal-winning run in 2006, and when he again made the All-Star Five as one of the five best players of the tournament in 2014.

Among the finest players to ever play in the FIBA World Cup, Gasol also knows firsthand how hard it is to win basketball’s ultimate prize, with powerhouse Spain winning it all only once and then getting their fair share of heartbreaks in other editions. One that comes to mind was their upset loss to France in the quarterfinals in 2014, where Spain was one of the favorites to get a podium finish, if not the championship.

“The World Cup is the toughest trophy in basketball to win,” said Gasol. “You need character. You need chemistry. And you need your teammates to pick you up. Because when you win for one, you win for all.”

His role as global ambassador won’t be new to the 42-year-old Gasol. He previously served as global ambassador of the 2022 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, where he helped promote women’s hoops and was courtside in Sydney watching the games. He will also be watching from the sidelines come August as various nations look to rise to the challenge of winning the toughest championship in basketball.