Pau Gasol takes incredible pride in representing Spain on the international stage — he still wants to play for them in the World Cup next summer, when he will be 39. He has a FIBA World Cup title and three EuroBasket titles for Spain, plus two Olympics silver medals. Both silvers because of losses to the USA in the Gold Medal game.
Kobe Bryant beat Gasol for one of those gold medals in 2008 in Beijing. Then Kobe tormented him with it, and used it as that particular Kobe style of motivation, via 24/7 Sports.
“One of my favorite ones, Pau hates it every time I tell this story,” Bryant recalls. “He hates it. We lost to the Celtics in ’08 and it was a physical series. I mean they beat the crap out of us. We go into the Olympic year, that year, we wind up playing Spain for the gold-medal match and we beat them. So now we come back to start training camp and Pau shows up first day of training camp, I have my gold medal hanging in his locker.
“The one thing he truly, truly love is his country. That is like everything to him. So it just drove him crazy. He said ‘You’re an ass—!’ I said, ‘Listen Pau, you lost to the Celtics, you lost to us in the gold-medal match, let’s not make this three in a row this year. Let’s win this thing.’ That was it for him.
“Pau was a phenomenon to begin with. For him, it was just stepping up a level of physicality, that we needed him to get to, which he did and we went on to win back-to-back championships.”
Kobe has told this story before. Gasol isn’t exactly motivated by the same strategies as Kobe, either — no doubt he got the message, but Kobe didn’t need to do it that way to motivate Gasol. That’s just Kobe. And he can be a bit of an ass—-.
But the Lakers went on to win the next two titles, beating the Celtics in 2010, so the victors get to write the history.
Hawks forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a car crash last week.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
It’s easy to see where this is headed. Parsons is positioning himself for a lawsuit, laying the seeds for both lost earnings and emotional distress. We might see Parsons’ future NBA salaries be litigated.
Parsons signed a four-year max contract in 2016. He hasn’t had a reasonably productive seasons since, struggling with knee issues. Parsons recently touted how healthy he felt, but that had to be viewed in context of a 31-year-old with an extensive injury history.
Parsons had played sparingly the last four seasons, including just five games this season. Did he land outside the Hawks rotation because they’re focused on youth or because he’s just no longer good enough?
That could become a question for a court room.
Parsons will be a free agent this summer. I projected him for a minimum-salary contract somewhere. He was clearly hungry for an opportunity without the max-contract burden weighing on him.
It’d be a shame if Parsons lost that because of a drunk driver.
Kyrie Irving missed nearly two months with a confounding injury.
During that time… Kendrick Perkins accused Irving of faking to avoid returning to Boston. Celtics fans chanted “Kyrie sucks!” without him even there. More examples of Irving’s moodiness in Boston emerged. Kevin Garnett suggested Irving didn’t have the cojones to play for the Celtics.
YES Network (2:40 mark):
When I was out for those seven weeks and not saying anything and still people are still saying things about me. It’s inevitable. They crucified Martin Luther King for speaking about peace and social integration. You can go back to historical leaders and great people in society that do great things, and they’re still going to talk s—about them. It is what it is.
I don’t think Irving is putting himself on King’s level but rather pointing out that even great people get attacked. This could be a way for Irving to contextualize that he shouldn’t fret about the lesser criticism he faces.
I’d give Irving that benefit of the doubt, especially considering his comments on Brooklyn hosting the 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today.
Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:
It’s more than an honor. I have done so much historic research on just my community as well as they voice that I have and where I am in the position I’m in as well on the platform. I just wish there were not just holidays to commemorate some of the historical black leaders that have really put their lives on the line and lost it in the line of Civil Rights or making a social impact. Those things hit you real deep when you know the history of where the society has gone. I’m really grateful to play on Martin Luther King Day, but his legacy exists more than just a game being played on that day or Nike shoes being put out or something else. It’s so much more for our society to realize what he was really involved in and what he did in terms of communities across the world on
Again, I don’t think Irving was equating himself with King.
But can I absolutely put it past Irving, who talks as if he’s on a higher plane of existence, emphasizes his own importance and makes weird self-comparisons? No.
It also wouldn’t be the NBA’s first case of being tone deaf about King.
The Hawks are reportedly are no longer interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond.
What about the Knicks, whose trade talks with Detroit were reportedly more serious than exploratory?
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
According to an NBA source, the Knicks have no interest in a trade despite a report the Pistons approached them about a deal
Like Atlanta, New York both isn’t winning anything of note this season anyway and can easily open cap space to pursue Drummond in unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Knicks also have another center in Mitchell Robinson. They should develop him rather than surrendering assets for a replacement who might not be as good as Robinson once they’re ready to win.
New York is desperate. So, a Drummond trade seemed at least plausible.
But not trading for Drummond makes the most sense. Though the Knicks could do anything, I’m inclined to believe this report.
Knee soreness, followed by an illness, has had Kristaps Porzingis in street clothes for 10 games, dating back to before the first of the year.
Sunday he went through practice and expects to play Tuesday when the Mavericks host the Clippers, Porzingis told the media Sunday.
That’s pretty much what the Mavs and KP were saying last week, then knee soreness flared up again and he sat out a few more games. This time he seems ready to go, although expect him to have some reduced minutes the first couple of games back.
Porzingis is averaging 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game, shooting 34.3 percent from three and providing a dangerous pick-and-pop partner for Doncic. Porzingis, who missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL, has improved as the season has gone on and he’s gotten his legs under him.
Dallas went 6-4 without Porzingis and their league-best offense didn’t miss a beat thanks to Luka Doncic. Defensively, however, the Mavericks missed his size in the paint, giving up 6.9 points more per 100 possessions in those 10 games than they averaged when he is on the court this season.
Dallas is 27-15 on the season and currently sit fifth in the West.