Spain Overtakes USA at Summit of FIBA Rankings

Marc Gasol of Spain at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019
Marc Gasol of Spain at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019. Photo by Imaginechina/Shutterstock (10377555d)

Spain has clinched the number one spot in the latest FIBA rankings released on Friday, overtaking the United States. This marks the first occasion in 12 years that Team USA has not been atop the world rankings.

“It’s not exactly a new title and it probably can’t be maintained for too long, but it’s something so unique, prestigious, and historic that I feel tremendously proud of everyone who … contributed to it,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo announced on Twitter on Friday.

Team USA first took the top spot in 2010 as the team won its fourth FIBA World Championship. Subsequent gold medals at the Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Olympics as well as another world title in 2014 helped to secure Team USA’s status as the top-ranked nation.

In 2017, FIBA changed its ranking system to only look at results over the past eight years. With the USA no longer benefitting from its 2010 World Championship, Spain bettered its own position by lifting the 2019 world title. Spain’s gold medal victory at this year’s EuroBasket boosted the Southern European nation to the summit of the FIBA rankings.