CHARLOTTE, USA – Marc Gasol has been synonymous to Memphis Grizzlies basketball for his whole NBA career. However, his name and Mike Conley, another cornerstone of the franchise, have come up in trade talks in the past few days as the Grizzlies find themselves at a crossroad of whether to build for the future or maintain their core with Gasol and Conley.
Gasol had seen the growth of the franchise when older brother, Pau Gasol, started playing for the team. He also played in high school at Memphis at Lausanne Collegiate School from 2001 to 2003 before playing professionally in Spain for FC Barcelona.
Gasol also did his national duty of playing for the Spanish national team, leading them to 7 medals overall and highlighted by the gold medal win at the 2007 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
The city was elated when he eventually made his debut for the Grizzlies in 2008.
“It’s a unique story and it’s been a positive one for me. Knowing first being a fan of the franchise, being on the stands cheering for my brother. Going from there to getting traded there, and playing in the team, and being successful with the team. It has been really, really good for me,“ he said when Rappler caught up with him after the team shootaround last February 1 before they played the Charlotte Hornets that evening.
He’s also found himself at on both ends, where previously he was the young turk, and now is the veteran of the team.
“I try to do as good as job as I can with the young players, especially having the responsibility with Jaren (Jackson, Jr) right now, with Jevon (Carter), with Dillon (Brooks), with Ivan Rabb. It has been a good process. It has been fun.
“But to me, at the same time if you come, within the system, within the winning, within the team concept, it’s not just about developing guys and what you develop them for. You have to make them understand that everything is for the team and making the team better,” he added.
He emphasized that the changes in his views from the time he started his career in Memphis to the present has really changed: “A whole lot. Like I said, pretty much as a teenager and now I’m a father. I have two kids. I view life a little different. I view success a little different. Things that mattered to me back then don’t matter to me now. I don’t know, it’s just different.
“You know what, I’ve had my injury since 2016. I broke my foot. Last year, I missed one game due to injury. This year, I missed one due to injury. Most importantly, the key to basketball is your mental health, being prepared, hungry and thirsty. Those things for me are huge.” – Rappler.com