Madrid, August 22, 2014: The Spanish National Basketball Teams have become the newest Laureus Ambassadors, just days ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

The announcement was made by Gabriel Masfurroll, the President of the Laureus Foundation in Spain, and marks the first time a team has become a member of the Laureus Family.

Star Spanish player Juan Carlos Navarro of FC Barcelona said: “We are happy to help and do everything we can to use the values of basketball to help people, especially those who need it the most.”

Laureus will be working closely in the future with the Federacion Española de Baloncesto (FEB), the Spanish governing body for basketball.

FEB president José Luís Sáez said: “It is not just about only one team, it is about many, of both genders and all ages, and about how they carry themselves, with respect, generosity and passion. This collaboration with Laureus embodies and represents the 500,000 members of the FEB all around the country. Beyond their passion for the sport, Laureus and the FEB share the effort that unites and promotes sporting values, as well solidarity to help those in need.”

In addition to Juan Carlos Navarro, José Luís Sáez and Gabriel Masfurroll, also present at the announcement were former player Jorge Garbajosa, acclaimed basketball star Elisa Aguilar, Under-17 player Inés Mata and Under-20 player Hernán Gómez.

The Spanish Basketball Teams will support the work of Laureus, using sport to address social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives, using sport as a tool for social change.

Gabriel Masfurroll said: “For Laureus it is an honour to be able to name teams, as opposed to individuals, as Laureus Ambassadors. Indeed, the hard work, the leadership and courage shown on the court has continually offered good examples of promoting sport values, making Laureus España very proud to be involved with everyone who is part of the organisation.”

The Spanish Basketball Teams are among the strongest in the world. The men’s senior team are currently ranked behind only USA in the world rankings, while the senior women’s team won gold at last year’s European Championships. The FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held from August 30 to September 14.

Looking forward to the FIBA World Cup, Juan Carlos Navarro stressed the importance of playing at home. “On one side, you do feel a little pressure due to playing at home as everyone expects us to be in the final, and we know there is a lot of work to be done. At the same time, everyone loves to play in front of their fans. We will do everything we can and work very hard so the people enjoy the games and for everything to work out for us. The team is very excited to be playing in Spain.”

Laureus Ambassadors are a select group of athletes and teams that are recognised for their achievements and contribution to the sporting community. Ambassadors volunteer their time to work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, whose mission is to use sport as the means to combat some of the world’s toughest social challenges facing young people today such as juvenile crime, gangs, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, social exclusion, lack of education, landmines awareness and health problems such as obesity. Since its inception Laureus has raised over €60 million and currently supports more than 150 community sports projects around the world. —- Laureus

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