Marc Gasol spending summer helping rescue migrants lost at sea in Mediterranean


Some players talk about helping others and charitable causes, a lot of them make donations of money (and occasionally a little time) to those causes.

Marc Gasol is on the front lines, getting his hands dirty — or in this case, wet — and involved.

Gasol has spent time volunteering aboard the ship the Open Arms Proactiva (part of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms), a vessel that helps rescue (and, sadly, also collect the bodies) of desperate migrants trying to get across the Mediterranean to Europe. We have the video above, and he spoke about it to The Guardian.

Marc Gasol will never forget the terrified look on the face of Josefa, the Cameroonian woman left clinging to a piece of wood for 48 hours in the Mediterranean. Josefa was the survivor of a shipwreck about 90 miles off the Libyan coast last Sunday. Rescuers recovered two bodies in the water alongside her, including that of a toddler.

“There were pieces of wood and clothes floating in the water,” Gasol told the Guardian. “Then there was that woman, with her elbows resting on a wooden beam. Her eyes were lost in the void. She was weak and in shock. She had been clinging to that piece of wood with her last bit of strength and had remained that way for 48 hours. I thought of this woman, of her strength. And I felt anger…

“It was too important not to tell the world … I could no longer remain silent,” he said. According to the UN, 1,443 people have died or gone missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean so far this year.

Good for Gasol, this is important work. Far more than basketball. And if he can help remind people of this ongoing tragedy, all the better.

Hopefully, Gasol, Mike Conley and the rest of the Grizzlies can remain healthy next season, if they do they will be a challenger for a playoff spot in the Royal Rumble of the West.