BY JOSÉ LUIS SÁEZ
Barcelona´s magical mountain was the final scenario of the latest edition of a King´s Cup splashed by colorful masses of fans and basketball passion. This top level competitive spectacle has for a zenith, a Spanish player, member of the Spanish National Team, as Tournament MVP. One can say that it is a pretty common picture in the last decade.
It was not just his amazing performance during the final game that awarded him as the Tournament´s MVP but also his global recital, Sergio Llull has proclaimed himself as a true heir of Rudy, Garbajosa, Trías and Vazquez. He has also led a historical quest for his team, that brought the trophy home -it was Felipe Reyes- 19 years separate the two conquests. Congratulations therefore to Real Madrid, but also to FC Barcelona, all participants and let´s not forget the referees that also contributed to the show.
And from Barcelona to Orlando within just a few hours. One more year, the NBA All Star will speak Spanish. Not only Marc Gasol will play for the West Conference Team but also Ricky Rubio will debut as a member of the Rookie Game. There could not be a better atmosphere to make the official presentation of the Spain Vs USA game that will take place at Palau Sant Jordi during the month of July. This amazing game will give spectators a taste of what they should expect out of the Olympic Games. This is yet another proof that US Basketball, represented by the NBA, considers playing against our National Team a major event.
Marc and Ricky will be two great ambassadors for Spanish Basketball in one of the most media relevant dates for basketball worldwide. Their presence in the All Star game is not a matter of chance but the result of their talent, effort, commitment, ambition and sacrifices shown throughout their basketball careers. These values perfectly represent those enforced by FEB.
Marc and Ricky both share a common denominator. Their early arrival to the National Team and their rapid adjustment making them indisputable assets to the team. Present and future. Who could forget Marc´s last minute landing in San Fernando (Cadiz) to earn a spot on the team that a few weeks later would be World Champion in Japan? Or Ricky´s record in Pekin where he claimed to be the youngest medalist in Olympic Basketball history and protagonist of an amazing Silver Medal?
Marc has always had an incomparable mirror in Pau. His older brother has been able to guide him professionally as well as personally towards success. As far as Ricky, his explosion with the National Team was also a result of the good work performed by his clubs and the coordination of these with the grassroots programs of FEB. He left us memories like that incredible exhibition during the 16 and Under European Championship in Linares.
Talent, effort and values like commitment, modesty and healthy ambition guarantee the presence of both among the brightest of the stars. This is why they deserve to experience an unforgettable weekend and to enjoy being the center of attention of a very special event. Although, in this occasion they will be in charge of representing OUR basketball, there are others: because those who will not be there are also All Star worthy in and outside a basketball court. We have to enjoy them and be thankful to them for everything they are doing for OUR basketball, everybody´s basketball.
See you in Orlando,