Spain Brown Basketball

FILE - Toronto Raptors guard Lorenzo Brown (4) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Washington. Former NBA player Lorenzo Brown has gained Spanish citizenship and is eligible to play for Spain's national team. The Spanish basketball federation welcomed the American player on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, saying his arrival is “part of its strategy to expand the base of players and talent available to play for the national team.” (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

MADRID (AP) — Former NBA player Lorenzo Brown is eligible to play for Spain's national team after being granted Spanish citizenship.

The Spanish basketball federation welcomed the American-born player on Tuesday, saying his arrival is "part of its strategy to expand the base of players and talent available to play for the national team."

The federation said Brown's arrival will help make up for the absence of some key players because of injuries and retirement.

Spain is missing Ricky Rubio because of an injury, while Sergio Rodríguez, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol retired recently.

The decision to give Brown citizenship sparked some criticism locally, with some saying Spain already had enough talent to keep the national team competitive.

The 31-year-old Brown is a guard who went to N.C. State and was a second-round NBA draft pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2013. He also played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors.

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