Marc Gasol Makes History While Leading Spain to FIBA World Cup Championship

Marc Gasol is celebrating a rare feat…

The 34-year-old Spanish professional basketball player got to bask in a championship celebration for the second time in three months — and this time, he did it for his country. Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points, Sergio Llull added 15 and Spain won the FIBA World Cup for the second time by topping Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

Marc Gasol

“We weren’t the most talented team,” Rubio said. “We weren’t the bigger team. Put anything you want, but we were the team with the biggest heart and we showed it tonight and we showed it during the whole tournament.”

Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed and added this crown to the one they claimed in 2006. And for him, 2019 will go down as a year the likes of which few others have enjoyed.

The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th player to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year.

The first 18 all did it for the U.S.

This time, vamos Espana!

“NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well,” Gasol said. “What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball.”

Llull and Rudy Fernandez — the team captain, who initially got to accept the Naismith Trophy — went to cut down the nets shortly after the final buzzer. Gasol carried the game ball to the gold-medal ceremony, and Spanish fans wept in the stands during the national anthem.

Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1-for-10 from the floor.

“We’re sad right now. We’re very sad,” Scola said. “But I feel confident, in hours, we’ll be able to look back and be very proud. They just played better than us. They were better. They deserved to win. They were the better team in the game and the tournament.”

Spain led 43-31 at intermission, after putting together a 14-2 run to open the game and a 17-1 run later in the half.

“This is basketball,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. “If you play better than the other team, you win the game. And Spain was the best team today.”

Scola, who at 39 years old was still Argentina’s best player throughout the tournament, didn’t get on the score sheet until he made a pair of free throws with 2:57 left in the third quarter. But they only cut Spain’s lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans who stood, sang and chanted for much of the game were relatively quiet.

The day belonged to Spain.

And the year belongs to Gasol.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gasol said.

Joining Rubio on the all-tournament team were Gasol, Scola, France’s Evan Fournier and Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Herrera Tabio to be Inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame

Ruperto Herrera Tabio is a baller for the history books…

The 65-year-old Cuban former basketball player will be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.

Ruperto Herrera Tabio

Herrera Tabio won the bronze medal with Cuba’s men’s national team at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

Basketball’s governing body, the International Basketball Federation, announced Friday that Herrera Tabio will be part of class of nine players who will be enshrined on September 19.

Herrera Tabio will be joined by Michael Jordan, who won two Olympic gold medals.

The rest of the class includes players Sarunas Marciulionis (Lithuania), Anne Donovan (U.S.), Vladimir Tkachenko (Russia/Ukraine), and Antoine Rigaudeau (France); coach Jan Stirling (Australia), technical official Robert Blanchard (France) and contributor Noah Klieger (Israel).

They will be honored in Lille, France, then presented at halftime of the Eurobasket championship game on September 20.

Salvadores Gives Verbal Commitment to the Duke Blue Devils

Angela Salvadores is ready to duke it out in NCAA competition…

The Spanish basketball player, the No. 5 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 for the 2015 class, has given a verbal commitment to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Angela Salvadores

Salvadores, a 5-foot-8 point guard, was a standout performer for Spain at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship in the Czech Republic over the summer.

Salvadores averaged a tournament-high 19.9 points per game, including 40 in Spain’s 77-75 gold-medal loss to the United States. Salvadores, who also averaged 7.4 rebounds, was named MVP of the tournament.

Salvadores joins a loaded 2015 class for the Blue Devils that also includes Kyra Lambert, the No. 9 prospect in the class; Faith Suggs, the No. 25 prospect; and Haley Gorecki, the No. 55 prospect.

Barbosa Reaches One-Year Deal with the Golden State Warriors

Leandro Barbosa has landed a golden opportunity…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional basketball player has reportedly reached a deal to sign with the Golden State Warriors for the upcoming season, according to ESPN.com.

Leandro Barbosa

After Barbosa received initial interest from the Miami Heat, Golden State has secured a commitment from Barbosa on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum, according to NBA front-office sources.

Barbosa played 20 games last season with the Phoenix Suns, with whom he broke into the NBA in 2003-04. He’s also had stints with the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.

Golden State had been searching for guard depth and gladly struck a deal with Barbosa before this weekend’s start of the FIBA World Cup in Spain.

Barbosa joins fellow NBA veterans Nene, Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao in leading a Brazilian squad that sees itself as a real contender for the championship along with the two consensus favorites: Team USA and host Spain.

Asked recently about his NBA future, Barbosa told ESPN.com: “Man, I’m just really focused on this World Cup.”