To win the World Cup is a major achievement for any basketball player, and that’s why we see some of the world’s best players descending upon the tournament every four years to try and capture glory for their nation.
That’s exactly what’s happening in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia at the moment, with the 2023 tournament now approaching its climax. Basketball fans all over the world are eagerly analyzing the FIBA World Cup 2023 betting odds to try and pick the winner. We’re down to the business end of proceedings, and it remains to be seen who will triumph and add their names to the list of winners on September 10.
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the players who lead the list of medal winners in the history of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Kresimir Cosic (Yugoslavia)
To have won the Basketball World Cup on two occasions, and finished as a runner-up on two other occasions, speaks to just how influential Kresimir Cosic was on Yugoslavian basketball.
Cosic is renowned for being the first basketball player in the world to play in all five positions on the court. That versatility is undoubtedly one of the reasons he enjoyed such success at the World Cup.
His first gold medal came in 1970, as Yugoslavia got the better of Brazil in the final. That triumph made up for three years prior when Cosic was part of the team that lost out to the Soviet Union in the showpiece match.
Cosic picked up another runners-up medal in 1974, before he and his team regained the title in 1978, this time getting the better of the Soviet Union in the final.
Wlamir Marques (Brazil)
The Brazil team of the late 1950s and early 1960s has its place in basketball history, and Wlamir Marques played a major part in their success as they claimed successive World Cup triumphs.
The small forward first tasted victory in 1959, as Brazil got the better of the United States in the final to claim their maiden world title. Four years later, Marques and Brazil were triumphant once again, this time downing Yugoslavia in the showpiece fixture.
Marques also claimed a silver medal on two occasions, in 1954 and 1970 respectively. He remains one of the all-time stars of Brazilian basketball.
Amaury Pasos (Brazil)
Another Brazilian with two titles to his name is Amaury Pasos. He too was present for Brazil’s successive triumphs in 1959 and 1963.
Pasos was also in the team that lost in the 1954 title, whilst he also claimed a bronze medal in the 1967 tournament.
Sergei Belov (Soviet Union)
The only other player to have picked up four medals in total is Sergie Belov of the Soviet Union. In an 11-year stretch for his country, Belov picked up two winning medals, one silver medal and one bronze.
The two victories came as the Soviet Union triumphed in 1967 and 1974, defeating Yugoslavia in both finals to claim the trophy. Belov’s runner-up medal came in 1978, when Yugoslavia exacted a measure of revenge, while his bronze medal was the result of a third-place finish in 1970, where the Soviet Union got the better of Italy in the third-place play-off.