Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Pau Gasol, quasi-surgeon, miracle worker and organ donor
By Henry Abbott
In Sports Illustrated, Lee Jenkins profiles Pau Gasol, who is fascinating. The article proves the Laker big man really can play many different roles:
- At Children's Hospital he met with doctors in a conference room, quizzing them about their treatment of patients with scoliosis, asking how they ensure that their procedures do not stunt lung development. "We all looked at each other like, How does he know this stuff?" says Dr. David Skaggs, chief of orthopedic surgery. Next month Gasol is scheduled to sit in on a spinal surgery with Skaggs, dressed in scrubs. "We talk to him now almost like he is a surgical colleague," Skaggs says.
- The morning after the deal the Lakers met in the lobby of their Toronto hotel to catch a bus, and trainer Chip Schaefer rubbed his eyes. "I had the strangest dream last night," he said. "I dreamt we traded Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol."
- Pau glides around opponents; Marc charges through them. Pau goes to art house theaters; Marc goes fishing. Pau debates; Marc scraps. "They have totally different mentalities," says Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. Yet Marc talks to Pau at least every other day and lives in Pau's old condo in downtown Memphis. "Little brothers have to go their own way sometimes," Marc says. "But Pau has always been the best example for me to follow." The Grizzlies have morphed from 60-game losers to playoff contenders, not in spite of the trade -- the only time in league history that one brother was traded for another -- but because of it. "Pau has been like an NBA organ donor for us," says [Chris] Wallace, who turned the draft picks and cap space and other spare parts from Los Angeles into nine players on the current roster.