A Guide To Spain Men’s Basketball Team

Courtside 1891 Editorial Team 19 Jul 2023


Keen to discover more about ‘La Roja’ (The Red One) and what makes the men’s Spanish basketball team historically great? Here at Courtside 1891, we’ve created this in-depth guide that includes details about the team’s notable performances, legendary players, current stars and future starlets.

  • FIBA Men’s World Ranking - 1st 
  • 2 gold medals at the FIBA Basketball World Cup (2006 and 2019) 
  • Four FIBA EuroBasket titles and three Olympic silver medals  
  • Pau Gasol was FIBA Basketball World Cup MVP in 2006 
  • Qualified for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 13 times 

With two FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals, four FIBA EuroBasket titles and three silver medals at the Olympics, the Spain men’s basketball team has earned its reputation as a global basketball powerhouse.  

Keen to discover more about ‘La Roja’ (The Red One) and what makes the men’s 5-on-5 Spanish basketball team so great? Here at Courtside 1891, we’ve created this in-depth guide that includes details about the team’s historic performances, legendary players, current stars and future starlets.  

2024 Olympics - Men's Basketball

The Spain men's basketball team are confirmed as one of the 24 nations that will compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024, which you can stream live with Courtside 1891. The tournaments are currently scheduled for July 2-7 2024. 

Four places remain to make up the twelve-team field that will compete at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic basketball events will take place between 27th July and 10th of August 2024. The nations currently confirmed to participate are France (host), South Sudan, Serbia, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia and the United States.

From Europe, the competing Olympic qualifying tournament nations are Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Lithuania, Italy, Montenegro, Greece, Georgia, Finland, Poland and Spain.

Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico advanced from the Americas region, following positive results at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They will be joined by the Bahamas, who shocked Argentina in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in La Banda, Argentina.

Egypt, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon are the competing African nations.

From Asia and Oceania, the teams that advanced were Lebanon, the Philippines, New Zealand and Bahrain.

How Did Spain Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023? 

​​Here are the top stats from Slovenia's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign: 

  • Final Standing: 9th
  • Results: Played 5 Won 3 Lost 2 
  • Top Points Scorer: Willy Hernangómez 91 PTS (18.2 PPG)
  • Top Assist Provider: Juan Núñez 26 AST (5.2 APG)
  • Most Efficient Player: Willy Hernangómez 18.6 EPG

Defending 2019 World Cup Champions Spain fell way short of defending their title, once they ran into top-level competition in the Second Round group phase. Having swept aside Cote d'Ivorie, Brazil and Iran perhaps Spain was not sufficiently battle-tested when they ran into Latvia and Canada, who came through a tough First Round examination that proved too much for France.

Watch free highlights of Spain's best win of the 2023 World Cup below. 

Brazil v Spain - 5-min Game

Finishing with a winning 3-2 record was sufficient to get the highly-ranked Spain a ticket to a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and it will be interesting to see if the Federación Española de Baloncesto resets and goes with youth or gives the established guard one final tournament challenge.

Team Presentation Video 

Up your knowledge about Spain and the success of baloncesto español in our handy Team Discovery Video, released ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

Team Presentation - Spain - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023  

World Cup Qualification 

The Spain basketball team qualified for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup by finishing top of their group in the second and final round of European qualifying. In total, across the two qualifying rounds, Spain won 10 of their 12 games. 

In the initial qualifying round, the Spanish side was drawn in Group G, alongside Georgia, Ukraine and North Macedonia. The team then topped this group. In total, they won five of their six games and lost only one, an away game against Georgia where they were overpowered in overtime.  


After topping Group G in the first round of qualifying, Spain moved onto the second and final qualification round. In this phase, they were drawn alongside Italy, Georgia, Iceland, Ukraine and the Netherlands in Group L.  

Spain topped the group again, but this time it was a much closer affair! Ultimately, they won their group on overall points difference over their Italian rivals. Spain and Italy finished on 18 points and scored 156 points each in their head-to-head encounters. The title of top dog in Group L came down to Spain’s overall points difference, which was higher than Italy’s (+120 vs +45).  

Best World Cup Qualifying Plays 

Spain’s basketball teams at every level are known for playing a very fluid style of basketball that’s incredibly easy on the eye. With exceptional ball movement, pinpoint passes and impeccable shooting techniques, the La Roja players are proud bastions of this ‘Spanish style’ that can be traced back through generations of Federación Española de Basketball players.  

Interested in seeing the top buckets from the current Spanish men’s team? Take a look at this video of their Top 10 plays from the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023.  

Best Plays - Spain - FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023  

Current Star Players  

Spain announced their extended roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup on July 5, 2023. This extended squad initially included the return of Ricky Rubio after serious injury, much to the delight of basketball fans around the world. Prior to the beginning of training camp, the 2019 World Cup MVP announced that he was pausing his professional career to focus on his mental health.

Leading Spain’s title defence was Willy Hernangómez, the EuroBasket 2022 MVP. This talented center made his FIBA Basketball World Cup debut with Spain in 2019, when the team clinched gold.  

During his career with the national team, Hernangómez has also won three FIBA EuroBasket medals (a bronze and two golds). Plus, he was also named as FIBA EuroBasket’s MVP in 2022. Added to this, he also helped his country claim a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics.  

After seven seasons as a registered NBA player (he was drafted 35th in the 2015 NBA Draft), FC Barcelona Bàsquet announced that Willy is returning to Spain and will play in Liga ACB, also known as Liga Endesa, in the upcoming domestic season. 

Hernangómez is joined in the squad by two-time World Cup champion Rudy Fernández, 38, who announced he plans to retire from national team duties after the 2024 Paris Olympics. It would be a fitting final chapter in a glittering international career if the much-loved and silky-skilled Spaniard could lift The Naismith Trophy for a third time.  

Co-star to Willy Hernangómez at FIBA EuroBasket 2022 was brother Juancho Hernangómez, who dropped 27 points in the final against France. Some fans will recognise him as ‘Bo Cruz’ from the 2022 Netflix movie, Hustle, where the multi-talented Juancho played a leading role alongside Adam Sandler.  

The youngest name on the roster was 19-year-old Juan Núñez. With Ricky Rubio not participating, it opened up an opportunity for the point guard to get meaningful minutes for Spain at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. 

Legends of the Team  

Spain has been blessed with some legendary players over the years and they don’t get more famous than brothers Pau and Marc Gasol.  

Combined, the two brothers represented Basketball Spain on more than 400 combined occasions and they both featured in the Spanish side that captured the 2006 FIBA Basketball World Cup. As well as excelling for Spain, both brothers have NBA rings from their time playing in America (and Canada, where Marc won the Championship playing for the Toronto Raptors in 2019). 

Although both brothers are legends of the Spanish basketball team, Pau’s career puts him in the conversation as the best European basketball player in the history of the game. After all, he was the MVP of the 2006 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which Spain won. He also claimed three FIBA EuroBasket titles (2009, 2011 and 2015) and currently holds the competition scoring title record (1,183 points). His two silver medals came at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He retired from national team duty in 2021 as Spain’s all-time leading scorer (3,599 points). Take a trip down memory lane with a look back at Pau’s inspiring international FIBA career by clicking the video below.  

Legend of the game - Pau Gasol - Spain 

As a pass-first big man that can shoot the three, Pau’s younger brother, Marc Gasol, is also a firm favorite among fans of La Roja. In total, he played in 191 games for the Spanish National Federation and amassed a whopping 1850 points. During this time, he helped the team capture two Olympic silver medals (2008 and 2012), two FIBA Basketball World Cup titles (2006 and 2019) and two FIBA EuroBasket titles (2009 and 2011). 

After playing the majority of his international career with his big bro, it was his time to shine in 2019, when Pau had to sit out the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup while recovering from a foot injury. Marc changed the course of the game in the semi-final with this scintillating performance:  

Game Changer - Marc Gasol - Spain v Australia - Semi Final - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 

Outside of the Gasol brothers, a number of other notable players have represented Spain. This includes Juan Carlos Navarro, who remains the team’s most-capped player with 253 appearances (only 6 ahead of Rudy Fernández) and Epi, who remains the side’s second-highest point scorer (behind Pau Gasol) with 3,330 career points.  

Historical World Cup Performance 

Spain has competed in the FIBA Basketball World Cup since the tournament was founded in 1950 and was called the FIBA World Championship. However, the side only qualified for the tournament once between 1950 and 1970.  

Since 1974, the team has consistently proved to be a serious competitor. Now, Spain is in an elite club of seven nations that have won the competition. Spain has reached the summit of international basketball twice, in 2006 and 2019.  

They captured the 2006 tournament by defeating Greece 70-47 in the final. Following the conclusion of the tournament, Pau Gasol was named as the tournament’s MVP and Jorge Garbajosa was selected to the All-Tournament team. 

In 2019, the team captured their second title by defeating Argentina 95-75 in the final. Legendary La Roja player Ricky Rubio was named as the tournament’s MVP, while Marc Gasol was named to the All-Tournament team. After Spain’s impressive win, Marc Gasol also became only the second player in the tournament’s history to win both an NBA title and the FIBA Basketball World Cup in the same year.   

Previous Successes and Tournament Wins 

The Spain basketball team is one of the most successful on the planet. After all, the side has won the silver medal at the Olympic Games on three occasions (1984, 2008 and 2012) and most recently captured bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio, Brazil.  

The team has also been immensely successful in other competitions. For example, they have won the most coveted prize in international basketball, the  FIBA Basketball World Cup, twice (2006 and 2019) and they’ve captured the FIBA EuroBasket title four times this century (2009, 2011, 2015 and 2022). In addition to this, they’ve also won the FIBA EuroBasket silver medal six times (1935, 1973, 1983, 1999, 2003 and 2007) and the bronze medal four times (1991, 2001, 2013, 2017). 

How to Watch Spain Men's Basketball 

With Courtside 1891, worldwide fans can watch Spain compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (FOQTs) 2024. We stream every game of FIBA international tournaments as well as other competitions from around the world. 

As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 provided access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game! Watch the competition's biggest games and best moments on-demand on our FIBA Basketball World Cup page. 

The best way to make sure that you never miss a single second of the upcoming action is to download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, or sign up to our website platform. Please be aware that, due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location. See our where-to-watch page for full details of upcoming competitions.

Looking for the latest results from the world of basketball? Head over to the Courtside 1891 Game Center. Here you’ll also find matchup times in your country as well as easy-to-access game highlights you can watch when you register with Courtside 1891.