International basketball icon Pau Gasol has been named a global ambassador for the FIBA World Cup 2023 that will be co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.
He joins another legend of FIBA basketball, Luis Scola of Argentina, as a World Cup global ambassador.
"The World Cup is the toughest trophy in basketball to win,” Gasol said. "A winning team needs character and chemistry and teammates who will pick you up when you're down."
"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," he added.
The FIBA World Cup is a familiar stage for Gasol, having made his debut in 2002 in Indianapolis where he helped Spain reach fifth place while averaging 19 points per game.
His biggest moment on the world stage came in 2006, when he spearheaded his country's run to glory at the 2006 World Cup in Japan. Gasol averaged 21.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game while shooting a blistering 63.1 percent from the field during that tournament, and won MVP honors despite missing the finals due to injury.
In his last World Cup appearance on home soil in 2014, Gasol led Spain to six straight wins before the hosts were upset by France in the quarter-finals.
In all, Gasol played at three World Cups, five Olympics and seven FIBA EuroBaskets. He helped Spain win silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and then bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
In the history of the EuroBasket, Gasol is one of the most decorated players. At the EuroBaskets in 2009 and 2015, he was the MVP as Spain captured titles. In 2011, he was in the All-Star Five as his national team also reached the top of the podium.
Gasol was in the All-Star Five when Spain finished runners-up at EuroBaskets 2003 and 2007 and when Spain were third in 2001 and 2017.
Even as a member of Spain's youth teams, Gasol competed and had success. He helped his country beat the USA in the final of the 1999 World Championship for junior men.
A two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Gasol has remained active after his retirement from international basketball after the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Only several months ago, he served as FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 ambassador and was courtside in Sydney, supporting and promoting women's basketball. He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission. Gasol is an advisor, investor and activist in projects related to sports and well-being.
The FIBA World Cup runs from August 25 to September 10.