Spain has the second best national basketball team in the world. Anchored in the paint by brothers Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol, plus with a host of good guards such as Jose Calderon and Ricky Rubio, they have won two Olympic silver medals in a row, able to beat out every nation on earth save the USA.
This summer Spain hosts the World Championships and the Lakers’ Gasol (Pau) will be in uniform. If there was a tournament where Spain might beat the USA, this one on their home soil is the best of candidates.
But Gasol refused to look much farther in his crystal ball — he doesn’t know yet if he will suit up for Spain in 2016 in the Rio Olympics, Gasol told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Gasol told this newspaper he remains undecided whether he will play in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janiero, aware that he will then be 36 and saddled with plenty of basketball mileage.
“That’s the main thing. Can I stay healthy and can I play and continue to excel?” Gasol said. “Everything takes its toll. You continue to add miles and then there’s a point where that’s as far as you get.”
Kobe Bryant, who is not going to be part of Team USA in 2016, said he plans to go to Brazil just to watch Gasol win another silver.
It’s too far off to say if anyone in particular will play in 2016 — would LeBron James want to go for a basketball record fourth gold, or take a summer off? Could Derrick Rose be healthy and be back to being a force of nature? Of course the threat of injury looms over everyone.
But 2016 would pretty much be the last run for this golden era of Spanish basketball, by the 2018 World Championships or 2020 Tokyo Olympics the group will be too old. Which is why I think you see Gasol play in Rio if he can (the way the golden era of Argentinian ballers made one last run in London, finishing fourth).