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February 2023
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Two-time NBA champion Malik Rose praises FIBA Intercontinental Cup: "It's a win-win"

TENERIFE (Spain) - Bruno Fitipaldo won FIBA Intercontinental Cup MVP honors and had the chance of receiving his award from a man who knows a thing or two about picking up silverware, albeit in the NBA.

Malik Rose won a championship ring twice , in 1999 and 2003, both times as a valuable player in Gregg Popovich's rotation at the San Antonio Spurs. The Texas club is an organization renowned for its international influence on the court, but even with everything that he witnessed first hand, Rose was caught by surprise in Spain.

"[What surprised me the most is] how far the game has gone since the last time I was here," the NBA Vice President, Basketball Operations said.

"They play like the American style of basketball, which is very exciting, fast-paced, up and down, lots of three-pointers, and this crowd, man... this rivals any NBA crowd. A lot of energy, it was a fun game to be around."

The Basketball Champions League winners Lenovo Tenerife defeated the BCL Americas champs Sao Paulo in the Final. The third step of the podium belonged to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, won prevailed in the Third Place game against the Basketball Africa League title holders US Monastir.

NBA G League champions won back-to-back third places in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, as Lakeland Magic had stepped on the third spot in the podium in 2022.

"Like with any league, we're trying to build our brand. We're trying to grow the game of basketball at a global stage, any time we can go and showcase what our G League players are doing, we think it's a good thing," Rose explained.

"But I really think we have a double benefit. We have the G League players showcasing what they can do, but then I get a chance to see some of these international players and they are really good. Getting a lot better," he added. 

Continental champions competing against each other over a weekend is a reaffirmation of basketball's stature as a global sport.  The former NBA champion believes the Tenerife event was another step in that direction.

"Just look around. It's a sellout crowd, I see a lot of kids [in the stands], and those are the next generations of players and they get to see good basketball like this. It's a win-win," he exclaimed.

It's not just about the ones in the stands. The FIBA Intercontinental Cup is a global event in terms of viewership, too, with the games being broadcast live around the world. The growth of the event is evident, and the near future will place an even bigger emphasis on this upward trend.