World champions!

Even without superstar Pau Gasol (injured at the semifinal), Spain won yesterday the FIBA World Cup, for the first time in history. This outperforms the silver medal won in Los Angeles’84, the most outstanding success of Spanish basketball until yesterday (and which I also witnessed, 22 years ago).

The real final was the semifinal against Argentina (75-74), and the final was much easier than expected (70-47), with Greece totally unable to score against the splendid Spanish defense. The game was a bit boring in terms of emotion, since Spain was so superior since the beginning, but this allowed us, Spaniards, to enjoy the victory many minutes before the end of the game.

One of the good things also has been that, for the first time in history, a Spanish TV has been broadcasting all games (not only Spain’s games, as in previous years, but *all* games), which is something already done in more “boring” sports (like football :-) Let’s hope the TVs take notes so that we can watch more Spanish league games in the upcoming season (last seasons it’s been only 1 game per week, 2 if you leave in some regions).

Another thing to note about this championship is the bronze medal for USA, another disappointment for NBA basketball. Even though they have the best players, they keep forgetting that basketball is a team game, and that now the difference between FIBA and NBA players is not as big as many years ago (when USA brought university teams and won almost always the gold medal, or when the splendid Dream Team in Barcelona’92). This makes it impossible for them to beat real teams (like Greece, Spain or Argentina) without doing team play. So let’s hope this makes a good lesson for them, so that we can see the best NBA-based team in Beijing’08, which is what we all want, even though that would mean no gold medal for Spain or any other country.

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