By Hannah Henderson
On the heels of guiding the Spanish National Team to a bronze medal in FIBA EuroBasket 2017, Marc Gasol now shifts his focus to preparing for his NBA job as training camp looms.
The turnaround will be quick for Gasol, whose Memphis Grizzlies gather for Media Day next Monday and are two weeks away from their Oct. 2 preseason opener against Orlando at FedExForum.
“We are very happy,” Gasol said of the finish at EuroBasket, where Spain fell short of repeating as champions of the FIBA tournament. “But we have finished and I am now thinking about a new challenge: The NBA and a new season.”
Gasol will enter camp with plenty of momentum following Spain’s run in the tournament. While the 3rd place finish fell short of the team’s ultimate goal, it was nothing short of sweet. Gasol played his best games as Spain carried an undefeated record through group play and into the medal rounds.
He scored 25 points in his final outing during Spain’s 93-85 victory Sunday against Russia. Before that, Gasol posted back-to-back double-doubles, with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the semifinals and 28 points and 10 rebounds in quarterfinals.
It was also an emotional tournament. A day before the game against Russia, Spain captain Juan Carlos Navarro announced he would be retiring from international play after EuroBasket 2017. That gave Navarro and the Gasol brothers – Marc and Pau – the opportunity to write their final chapter of a historic feat together as they would take the court as teammates for the final time.
After spending much of their early professional careers in the same jerseys, including on the gold-medal winning Spain team at the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Navarro tried his hand in the NBA. Navarro made his debut with the Grizzlies during the 2007-2008 season, following Pau Gasol, the first Spanish National player that joined the Grizzlies in the previous season. Navarro returned home to FC Barcelona after one season with the Grizzlies, but remained teammates with the Gasols in FIBA tournaments.
During their eight seasons as teammates on the Spanish national team, they captured two gold medals and one silver before closing out play with bronze last weekend.
Marc Gasol hopes to follow in Navarro’s footsteps and lead younger teammates by the example.
I am thankful for all he has shown and taught me … I hope I can teach younger guys in the way he has taught me. I’m very happy they were able to see how he manages situations, bad and good, because it’s difficult to repeat. He’s a very special person.
View photos of Marc Gasol on the Spanish National Team during EuroBasket 2017.