BARCELONA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Spain have begun to shake off the disappointment of coming second best in another title showdown at the Olympics with the United States.
They are looking to the future with optimism, hoping to strengthen their status as one of the dominant sides in international basketball.
Next year in Slovenia, the Spaniards will go after a third straight EuroBasket gold medal while the following year, Pau Gasol and Co will host the inaugural FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Formally known as the FIBA World Championship, the World Cup will have 24 teams and two sides already have their places in the tournament field.
The USA qualified as Olympic gold-medal winners and Spain have a spot reserved as the host nation.
The World Cup will be the latest major basketball event to be held in Spain.
Only five years ago, Spain staged the EuroBasket and reached the Final before being upset in a thriller by Russia.
"After the European Championship in Madrid in 2007, our enthusiasm for the World Cup is at its maximum,” Los Angeles Lakers superstar Gasol said.
“Let's see if we can win it.
"It's going to be a very special tournament and to play it at home gives us an added motivation.
“I hope that we will all arrive in good health and with a lot of will to face this new challenge."
Gasol is an internationally renowned player, one who was named the MVP of the 2006 World Championship and EuroBasket 2009.
He has also captured NBA titles with the Lakers.
Another iconic figure in the Spanish game is Juan Carlos Navarro, a long-time player at Barcelona who only one year ago was named MVP of the EuroBasket in Lithuania.
Navarro and Gasol have been lynchpins for a national team that has risen to the number two spot in the FIBA Men's Ranking.
"Our great aim is to continue to be at the top, to grow,” Navarro said.
“We are a team that is respected by everybody.
“This is our objective.
“The key is to continue to have ambition and not to settle."
Spain are much more than two players.
Another key man is Gasol’s younger brother, Marc, who played in his first NBA All-Star Game last year as a representative of the Memphis Grizzlies and has been in the national team set-up since Spain’s world title triumph in 2006.
He is an elite center in the game and will be a leading figure next year in Slovenia when the Spaniards go for a hat-trick of EuroBasket gold medals.
That tournament will be a qualifying event for the World Cup.
Even though Spain already have their place assured as hosts in 2014, reaching the top of the podium next summer in Ljubljana will be an aim.
“A European Championship is sufficiently important,” he said.
“We don't need any more motivation.
“It will be complicated, difficult and long but it would not be any other way.”
One of the players who played a vital role in the Americans’ 2010 world title win in Istanbul, Eric Gordon, was hurt for much of the last NBA season and did not make the final cut for the USA Olympic team.
Gordon will try to return to the squad in time for the World Cup, and he has an idea of which team will be the biggest hurdle to clear for the USA.
“Spain is the only team with the potential to beat us,” Gordon said in Bilbao this week, where he was promoting an NBA event.
“In my country, the World Cup is growing in importance and we’ll keep working with the aim of winning. We will have a great team.”