Argentinian legend Luis Scola has been named a FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Global Ambassador, with the event tipping off on August 25 in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.
Scola, the World Cup’s second all-time top scorer with 716 points, is one of the true legends of the competition. He appeared in five editions, and his mark of 41 games played is tied for first in the men’s competition’s history with Brazilian great Ubiratan Pereira Maciel.
Scola was there when Argentina came within a whisker of winning the title at the 2002 World Cup in Indianapolis but fell in overtime.
At the 2006 World Cup in Japan, Scola’s role had grown more important. He shot 55.3 percent from the field and averaged 14.3 points and seven rebounds as Argentina made it to the Semi-Final before suffering a 75-74 heartbreak to Spain.
The 2010 World Cup in Turkey saw Scola turn in some of his finest performances. His 27.1 points per game scoring average were the highest in the tournament. One of his efforts was unforgettable, and it came in the Round of 16 against Brazil. Scola poured in 37 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Argentina prevailed in a 93-89 thriller.
To the very end, Scola was a leading light for Argentina. At 40, he dominated the 2019 event in China, with his 28-point, 13-rebound performance in an 80-66 Semi-Final triumph over France helping clinch a spot in the World Cup title game for the second time in his career. Scola was named to the TISSOT All-Star Five.
Scola didn’t just shine at World Cups but also in five Olympic tournaments.
In 2004, Scola played an integral role as his country won the Olympic gold medal in Athens. He captured a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and was a Semi-Finalist at the 2012 Olympics in London. At the next Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, Scola served as Argentina’s flagbearer during the Opening Ceremony. He became a five-time Olympian at the Tokyo Games, which were played in 2021.
Scola also played in numerous FIBA AmeriCups, reaching the podium nine times. In 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015, Scola was MVP at the event.
“I’m truly honored to be a World Cup Global Ambassador and to take on this new role,” Scola said. “I always wanted to represent Argentina, to sing the national anthem before games and to play alongside so many amazing players, and for great coaches. We always set out to win tournaments, but the most important thing was to give our best, to be good role models, and to play for our country.
“Being part of our Golden Generation with so many amazing players has also been a very special experience. Playing every summer was also a priority because it helped me maintain my fitness for the following season. We had amazing victories. While there were some disappointing results, we won a lot more than we lost and learned many life lessons along the way,” the former NBA champion continued.
“Maybe the biggest was that with perseverance, togetherness, and a shared vision, a team can achieve more than is expected. If all players, all teams, take that approach next year, this is going to be another unforgettable World Cup across the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.”