Pau Gasol, a basketball legend and global ambassador of the upcoming World Basketball Championship, has made a fascinating choice of the European five players who could go head-to-head against the United States national team.
In an interview with the media, Gasol handpicked five players from European countries that he believes would give the Americans a run for their money.
Three Standout Players
The Spanish basketball great highlighted three players who, in his opinion, are at the top level of the sport globally: Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic.
"These three guys would undoubtedly be on my team," he said.
Complementing the Star Players
Gasol added that to complement these three standout players, it is important to have "glue guys" who can help to hold the team together.
He named Spanish player Rudy Fernandez as one of these crucial contributors. "To me, the guy who comes to my mind is Rudy Fernandez. The guy has proven so much and has been such a key contributor to our team doing little things...
I think he's proven and earned that type of recognition."
The Fifth Man
When it came to selecting the fifth player for his European roster, Gasol faced a tough decision between two talented players, Bojan Bogdanovic and Lauri Markkanen.
After much consideration, he ultimately chose Markkanen, citing his recent All-Star status.
FIBA World Cup stars five-a-side to defeat Team USA according to Pau Gasol ?#FIBAWC #WinForAll
?? Luka Doncic
?? Rudy Fernandez
?? Lauri Markkanen
?? Giannis Antetokounmpo
?? Nikola Jokic pic.twitter.com/7NwZMAjIM7 — BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) February 8, 2023
A Basketball Great
Pau Gasol is widely regarded as one of the best European basketball players of all time.
He began his career in 1998 with Barcelona and was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA at the age of 21. Throughout his career, he played for several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago, San Antonio, and Milwaukee, before ending his career with his hometown club, Barcelona.
Gasol boasts an impressive resume, with six All-Star selections, two appearances in the second NBA five and two in the third, and 11 medals with Spain at major competitions, including three European golds and one world gold, as well as two Olympic silvers.
He was also a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, and a Spanish champion with Barcelona in 1999, 2001, and 2021.