On Thursday Spain introduced the 2009 edition of their national team to the public, and began by honoring two of Europe's brightest stars.
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin was on hand to present Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio with the 2008 FIBA Europe Player of the Year and Young Men's Player of the Year Awards respectively.
"Pau and Ricky are two of the most exciting players in the world, and it will be a pleasure to see both of them on the floor together in Poland at EuroBasket 2009," commented Zanolin.
|For Gasol it was his first Player of the Year Award, for Rubio it was the second straight time he has won the FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year award.|
"They represent the best of European basketball both on and off the court."
"I'm honoured to receive this distinction in a year that has been really special for me," said Gasol who won his first NBA title in June with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I'm proud to be at the top of a list with so many great players."
Rubio, who saw his first national team duty last summer at the Olympics, will likely be one of the team's leading lights when they take the court in Warsaw on 7th September.
He is the first player to receive the FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year two years in a row.
"I'm proud to receive this award two years in a row because it proves I am working hard." said Rubio.
"It would be a dream to become Europe's best player like Pau, but I also realize that I have to take each day as it comes in order to improve my game."