Teams that entered qualification tournaments; Asia (purple), Africa (orange), Americas (green), Europe (blue) and Oceania (yellow) and automatic qualifiers (aqua)
Japan qualified as the host country, and Italy, Puerto Rico, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey gained FIBA wild-card invitations. Argentina qualified as the champion of the 2004 Olympics. The remaining 18 countries qualified through their continents' qualifying tournaments (six from Europe, four from the Americas, three from each of Asia and Africa and two from Oceania).
The draw for 2006 World Championship was held in Tokyo on 15 January 2006. In the preliminary rounds, Group A played at Sendai, Group B at Hiroshima, Group C at Hamamatsu and Group D at Sapporo. The Medal Rounds were played at Saitama.
Since the inaugural competition one of the two teams competing for the title had been either the USA or Yugoslavia. After the latter's breakup, a Former Yugoslav Republic, Serbia, has taken its place in the final. The 2006 final was the first (and only, up to 2014) in which none of these two teams competed. The final was an unexpectedly one-sided affair, with Spain dominating from the beginning and limiting Greece (exhibiting possible fatigue from its previous game with the U.S.) to just 47 points, fewer than the Greeks had scored in any single game in the tournament, and less than half what Greece had scored against the USA in the semifinals. Spain won despite having lost power forwardPau Gasol, ultimately named the tournament's most valuable player, to injury in a semifinal match against Argentina.