Saturday, June 23, 2012

There is something wrong with society when it is a better career choice to bounce a basketball instead of becoming a life saving doctor. That is the exact decision Pau Gasol made who is the Spanish born all professional forward who has already helped the Los Angeles Lakers to two National Basketball Association Championships. Yes, we all know that the Miami Heat won this year but that is what they were supposed to do last year as well with Lebron James on their team.
Pau also is the one responsible for the only time in NBA history where a brother was traded for a brother. Yes, he has a younger brother who also plays basketball. It is not hard to spot him on the court because how often do you see giant 6 foot 10 inch tall Spanish basketball players on the court? Not often. He is from Barcelona, Spain and although he was tall and athletic from an early age, the sport was not his first choice in life.
Growing up he loved to read, played Tchaikovsky on the piano, had the largest desk in the school and brought home great grades. Not the background of your typical basketball player. The news in 1991 of Magic Johnson’s decision to withdraw from the Lakers due to acquiring the Aids virus, inspired him to move forward in greater interest in a career choice for himself. He wanted to play professional basketball but was also interested in the medical field where he could somehow contribute to end incurable diseases like Aids.
That news caused conflicting feelings for Gasol since he loved basketball but also wanted to be a doctor and was in medical school. The medical profession was always a part of his life because his mother was a doctor and his father was a nurse. He was even named after the Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona where he was born. At 18 years old he enrolled in medical school determined to dedicate his life to finding cures for deadly diseases.
It was very hard to spend the amount of hours a day needed to study medicine and to practice basketball. A choice had to be made and since his youth could only be valuable on the court he decided to close the medical books till he couldn’t play basketball. Most players retire the game by the time they are 35 years old and can live a very wealthy lifestyle from their dribbling days on the court.
Gasol performed well in the Spanish Professional League and he entered the NBA draft in 2001. He expected to be the ninth or tenth pick and instead was the third pick by the Atlanta Hawks. He was immediately traded to the Memphis, Grizzly’s and his parents and younger brother Mark moved to Tennessee with him. By then Pau was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and his brother Marc began playing in this country as well.
Marc was also 6 feet 10 inches tall in high school and was stocky. The classmates would nickname him The Big Burrito! In 2007 the Lakers drafted Marc in the second round. By the next year their careers did a flip when Pau got the call to be traded to the Lakers and traded for his BROTHER. It was the only time in NBA history where two brothers were traded for each other. Did that mean his younger brother was a better player than him? How awkward and what is wrong with the NBA to even put these family members in that position? They could have been traded anywhere, why to the same team?
Within hours Pau was on a plane to Los Angles. Gasol meshed well with the team leader Kolbe Bryant and the team went on to win back to back NBA Championships. Occasionally, Pau has to face off with the Grizzly’s and his brother Marc. Last summer during the NBA lockout the brothers teamed up to help bring the European Basketball Championship to their home country of Spain.
With all the embarrassment that most sports greats have brought to their sports and to disgrace their name, Pau Gasol gives off intelligence, manners, good sportsmanship and a guy his parents and all of America can be proud of to represent basketball heroes. Ok, so he gave up medicine for now and is not finding the cure for Aids and Cancer yet but he is making lots of money and winning trophies for dribbling. The kind of dribbling from his palms not from his mouth.

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