Campeones De Europa!
Those who thought former Los Angeles Laker and one of the best European legends of all-time, Pau Gasol was done may want to check one of the 1,660 times this guy is getting mentioned on Twitter in a hashtag trend right now.
Because even without Marc Gasol, the Memphis Grizzlies brother who everyone thought had surpassed him, or even the NBA talented likes of fellow countrymen Serge Ibaka, Juan Carlos Navarro and Ricky Rubio in this tournament, Pau powered his nation to the EuroBasket finals and the very trophy itself.
A wealth of talent like Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez and Chicago Bulls sophomore stud teammate Nikola Mirotic may be on the side of an international team that has the depth and dynamics to give the Dream of Team USA nightmares in Rio next year for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, but it was the older brother Gasol who has been the elder statesmen of this tourney.
From dunking like LeBron to MVP performances in the semis, check youtube or a box score because this guy is more than back…he’s really something. Those who thought the former Laker who gave the purple more championship gold had had his redemptive re-charge in Chicago as a Bull had no idea this Summer stampede was coming.
Now just like we can no longer doubt his All-Star and beyond a franchise winning legacy, can we no longer brush brilliant and inspired international tournaments of a sensational Summer like this aside for stuff like sneakers and signings or the things to come next year?
Because this like the game of Gasol is serious!
P.G.’s double, double led Spain past Lithuania 80-63 as he tallied an incredible line of 25 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots for the tournament’s finale. “It was an incredible championship,” Pau told press post-game after Spain retained a title they lost in 2013 (San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker and Boris Diaw’s France where victorious in that one…they won the bronze medal this time around in the 81-68 third-place playoff win against Serbia) to make for three championships in the last four years of play.
Spain’s King Felipe VI and tennis great Rafael Nadal watched an aces Spain team crowned champions in this gold medal game which reduced Lithuania to a silver-medal lining. Led by the Most Valuable Player of this tournament number 16, a 16 point run surged a streaking Spain to be in cruise control for most of this championship clash. Yet, this whole tournament has been one of competitive court proceedings that show just how classic this game can be, even off the continent of the United States. This is more than just the international imports that have made the NBA great from Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac to the Gasol brothers, this is a wider look at what this sport of basketball really is about.
What this game really is…