Tuesday, 7 May 2013
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
To begin this story of basketball brotherhood we should go back to 2008. Although their family bond over roundball stretches back to their Spanish childhood, backyard roots. Concrete roots as Marc and Pau Gasol where kids with big dreams and sneakers who then one day made it to the hoops half of FC Barcelona while their peers where concentrating on the soccer side. These national team treasures have crossed international waters and transcended borders and are now major stars in the NBA. Simply put...'Marc y Pau Gasol representan el mejor talento internacional del baloncesto del la NBA'.
1st February 2008.
Still it was Pau that put the gasoline power of the Gasol name in the mouths of NBA writers and analysts first. A 'Rookie Of The Year', Memphis Grizzlies saviour and closest European to Dirk. The second half of his post career has seen Pau be the first player to help Kobe Bryant to a Los Angeles Laker championship since Shaq. It was a blockbuster deal at the beginning of 2008 that brought Gasol and Larry O'Brien to Los Angeles Lakers. It seems like Mitch Kupchak and L.A. pulled off a steal as they apperared to unload troubled Kwame Brown and spare parts for a legit superstar. Still, little did they know (like few people remember) that they also traded the next big thing in basketball, as they shipped their draft right to Pau's brother Marc to Memphis fo the deal. The first brothers ever traded in the NBA, everyone focussed on the grown, established Gasol, but there was always that feeling that maybe they should have kept the family together. Still as the celebration champagne poured that was just a mere commiseration...until...
Today tells a different story. Five years later the Lakers have been swept out the playoffs by San Antonio Spurs...a team that the Grizz know all about when it comes to playoff upsets. The talented Pau Gasol now looks like the unfair trade bait, while his brother is arguably the best big man in the league right now. Can you say 'Defensive Player Of The Year' and maybe congratulations?! As of press time Memphis are still in the playoff hunt-no longer a dark horse-after taking care of the Lakers sister team the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round (a team that has beaten up the L.A. Lakers like a bigger, bully brother of late). Now who's got the better end of that blockbuster deal now? It's no longer bleak in Memphis like Jay-Z's best rapping friend. The former Vancouver team who lost their star player mid-season (Rudy Gay) to the one Canadian NBA side not extinct (the Toronto Raptors), still look like nothing can stop them. They are an established, premier postseason side now with the likes of the big and bold Zach Randolph, the slight but might of Tayshaun Prince, the run and gun of Tony Allen and the slip and slide of Mike Conley. Still it's Marc Gasol who is the belle of Memphis.
To get buckets in Memphis you have to get past the Spanish inquistion and this man guards the house like a rabid dog seeing bull-fighter red. Now wave the white flag because it's hard to make deliveries in the Fed-Ex Forum. There's more than meets the scouts eye to the 1.7 block and 1.0 steal averaging player who brings it all to the 'other' side of the basketball table. This turnover manipulating kings defensive game is complete and this big body can rebound down in the paint and dunk and deuce to a score too. The All-Star shows he is more than a 48th pick, who many probaly thought had a hand me down career form his big brother. Pau is still one of the best in the league, but one of the only ones who can go sneaker to sneaker with him is his younger brother, who knows him and post-basketball more than most in the L. With more size and tenacity, what Pau has in skill, Marc has in strength. It's a beautiful thing to watch this family feud in basketball terms. It's even greater to see them come together for their Spanish national side, making for the strongest post presence in last years Olympics and for over a decade now the closest thing to Team USA, for world, FIBA basketball superiority.
Which begs the question if these brothers in arms will ever play together in the big leagues of the NBA? Could the next generation of two towers rule the wild West like Tim Duncan and the Admiral David Robinson when they wore Spurs on their basketball shoes? With Pau on the block, could we one day see him on the basketball one back in Memphis reunited with his brother? Even though it's looking so much better in the city Elvis Presley built, the Grizzlies still miss their original Gasol and their first star power in Pau. They'd love to get their claws back into him and reunite him with his sibling rival. With their shaggy hair and beards this really would be a Grizzly combo, but a little less conversation and a little more action would be the only thing to make this deal happen, thank you very much.
Also how much would the Lakers love to nix part of their former blockbuster deal, like it was the Chris Paul situation all over again but in reverse? 'WoW', would they love to have Marc and Pau together in the paint. Sure they got their man in Dwight Howard last season, but look where that got them and how far (not very far at all) it did. Dwight may be the bigger name with the bigger blocks and rebound gobbles, but statistically and successfully speaking right now Marc Gasol is the far better centre then the former 'Defensive Player Of The Year' in L.A. with that old grin. The Lakers will have to bare it now but you know they'd rather have Marc right now, maybe even more than Pau. That's because in this league a name may say a lot (especially in Hollywood), but it's the game that does the real talking and right now Marc Gasol is 'canto'.