In just four seasons on the Real Madrid bench, Pablo Laso has put his name firmly among the list of great head coaches who have walked the sidelines for the most-crowned club in European basketball history. Laso has guided the team into the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship Game in each of the last two seasons and now leads Los Blancos into their third consecutive Final Four. Over that time, his 80 victories with Madrid are the second most of any coach in the competition. All told, Laso has done everything short of lifting the Euroleague trophy to be considered a true candidate to join the very elite of Europe's all-time great coaches.
Under Laso, Real Madrid has not only been a model of excellence in terms of results, but has also produced a super-attractive brand of basketball that uses the speed, athleticism and creativity of its players to score more points than any team during those four seasons. To have Laso at the helm of such a squad seems natural; he enjoyed a 19-year playing career as one of the best playmakers in Spanish basketball. When Laso retired in 2003, he walked away as the Spanish League's all-time leader in assists and steals. His playing career also featured many prizes from a team perspective. In 11 seasons for Saski Baskonia – now Laboral Kutxa Vitoria – Laso helped the team win the Spanish Copa del Rey in 1995 and reach back-to-back Saporta Cup finals in 1994 and 1995. In his two seasons wearing Real Madrid's uniform, Laso reached the Euroleague Final Four in 1996 and won the Saporta Cup in 1997.
The next act in Laso's career – coaching – was a natural progression. Not only was he a floor general and team leader as a player, but his father, Pepe Laso, had coached teams in Spain's top leagues during the 1970s and the 1980s. Pablo Laso took his first coaching steps in the Spanish third division, and then spent time with Valencia, Cantabria and Gipuzkoa before accepting Madrid's offer in the summer of 2011. In the short time since then, Laso and Madrid have won the Copa del Rey three times, have lifted the 2013 Spanish League trophy and have reached three straight Euroleague Final Fours. Playing at home for the newest of those, Laso and Madrid hope to claim the club's first Euroleague title in 20 years and crown their great partnership together.