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Spain’s National Basketball Team

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2006

The Spanish basketball team that participated in the World Cup in Japan under the leadership of José Vicente Hernández was made up at the time of receiving the Award by point guards José Manuel Calderón, Carlos Cabezas and Sergio Rodríguez; shooting guards Juan Carlos Navarro, Rudy Fernández and Berni Rodríguez; small forwards Carlos Jiménez and Álex Mumbrú; and power forwards/centres Pau Gasol, Felipe Reyes, Marc Gasol and Jorge Garbajosa. The national team reached the winner's podium after having completed an undefeated run to reach the play-offs, where they overpowered great teams such as Serbia (2002 World Champion), Lithuania (2003 European Champion), Argentina (2004 Olympic Champion) and Greece, the current European Champion. At the end of the game, Pau Gasol, who missed the final due to an injury, was selected Most Valuable Player by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and along with team-mate Jorge Garbajosa named to the All-Tournament Team, the "ideal five-man squad".

The 2006 team had among its ranks includes four Spanish NBA players: Pau Gasol, José Manuel Calderón, Jorge Garbajosa and Sergio Rodriguez, who will be making their debut with the Toronto Raptors and the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2006-2007 season. A large part of the squad is formed by a generation of players known as the "golden juniors", ever since they won the 1999 Junior World Championship. For this reason, the squad's triumph in Japan is considered to be the result of a group that has made team spirit the key to its game.

Before winning the world title in 2006, Spain’s best results in a World Championship was coming fourth in Cali, Colombia in 1982. The men’s national team had not made it this far since winning a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. To date, the Spanish team has participated in the World Championship on 12 occasions, winning the title once again in China 2019. Also outstanding among the feats that have led Spanish basketball to attain its highest levels are its four titles as Europe champions, achieved in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2022. Moreover, after having participated in this championship 31 times, Spain’s basketball team has also won six silver medals and four bronze medals. The team has participated in 13 Olympic Games, adding two silver medals (2008 and 2012) and a bronze medal (2016) to the silver won in 1984.

The national basketball squad represents the Spanish Basketball Federation at competitions organised by FIBA or the International Olympic Committee, mainly the World Championship, the European Championship and the Olympic Games, as well as tournaments and friendly matches. The national basketball squad was formed in 1935 to take part in the first European Championships, held in Geneva and where Spain placed second.

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