Polls opened Sunday for a symbolic referendum in parts of Catalonia on whether the region should become independent from Spain. Which just made me wonder, what effect a Catalan independence would have on Spanish Basketball.
The turnout of the referendum was 94% pro-independence, but we are not here to discuss about that. What is more interesting is which players would the Spanish National Team lose and what kind of an NT would Catalonia be able to put together. Note that this is all fiction as according to opinion polls only 20% of Catalans support independence and separatist parties have never gotten more than 16% in official elections.
For the sake of arguement let's have a look at the players of the 2009 Spanish NT that were born in Catalonia.
No doubt Spain would have to cede their best player in Pau Gasol, their biggest talent in Ricky Rubio and key players such as Juan Carlos Navarro and Marc Gasol.
In fact 6/12 players of their current squad, namely Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro, Raul Lopez, Marc Gasol and Alex Mumbru are Catalonia natives.
Of course Spain flourishes with talent and would be able to assemble a gold-medal contenter anyway as Jose Manuel Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa and more can not be overlooked as lesser players. Talent is piling up.
But what players that were born in Catalonia are there more that can be combined with Pau and Co to assemble a competitive Catalan NT?
Jordi Trias, Xavi Rabaseda, Victor Sada, Roger Grimau, Sergi Vidal, Pau Ribas, Rafa Martinez, Albert Miralles and Guillem Rubio are all Catalonia natives and make up a more than decent pool of players to supplement the existing 6 that are already internationals with the Spanish NT.
All in all, such a split would create two gold-medal contenders in international competitions. Luckily for the rest such a turnout is very unlikely to happen in the near future.