Grizzlies center Marc Gasol selected NBA Defensive Player of Year

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The major accomplishments just keep on coming for the Gasol family.

Marc Gasol was able to place a major piece on the family mantel Wednesday when the Memphis Grizzlies’ center was voted the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award that many thought Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka was a lock to win.

Gasol’s brother Pau has collected most of the accolades in the family. Pau Gasol helped the Los Angeles Lakers win back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and ’10 and was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2002. He played in the 2006, ’09, ’10 and ’11 All-Star Games.

In addition to the honor he received Wednesday, Marc Gasol was on the NBA’s all-rookie second-team in 2009 and also played in the 2012 All-Star game. In essence, the Gasol family has plenty to boast about while hauling in a lot of NBA hardware.

“I think it’s a great recognition and a great accomplishment for him and I’m just very proud of what he’s been able to do and who he has become as a player and as a person,’’ Pau Gasol said about Marc Gasol after Wednesday morning’s shoot-around at the AT&T Center. “So I’m a proud big brother, for sure.

“He gets it done at both ends of the floor, and he’s just a great anchor for their team at both ends of the floor. On the defensive end he gets a lot of deflections, a lot of steals, he gets blocks, he makes critical defensive plays and it helped them be the defensive team that they are.’’

Gasol’s parents both played basketball, and the genes apparently were passed on to their kids.

“They both loved the game,” Pau Gasol said. “We always played growing up with them in the back yard.

“We’ve always been a basketball family.”

Pau, who is nearly five years older than Marc, said they were both very competitive while growing up in Spain.

“We’ve always been around basketball, love the game, played it with our teams,” Pau Gasol said. “Outside, we always went and shot by ourselves and with our parents.

“We always love to do it, so it was always a part of our life. A big part of our life.”

Pau Gasol (7-foot, 250 pounds) said the list of folks who helped transform him and Marc into NBA All-Stars (7-1, 265) is practically endless.

“We had a lot of coaches growing up,” Pau Gasol said. “All the coaches, we paid attention to the fundamentals of the game, worked on the fundamentals of the game — ball-handling, passing, just court awareness, team ball.

“So that’s what we were being taught from when we were little, and we were able to absorb it really well and put it to practice really well. Also, the values that our parents taught us were also critical as far as being humble, hard workers and respectful.”

Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person can certainly relate to the Gasol brothers. Person played in the NBA from 1986-2000, and his younger brother, Wesley, played in the NBA from 1994-2000.

“To play at that level [of the Gasol brothers] is unprecedented in terms of the size and commitment to play on both ends of the floor,” Chuck Person said. “And they both can shoot, both can pass, they’re multi-faceted in every kind of way, and they’re close-knit.

“But when they play against one another, they compete. So it’s a great position and setting for them to be in.”

Ironically, Pau and Marc were traded for each other on Feb. 1, 2008.

And if two Gasol brothers in the NBA isn’t enough, how about three? Pau’s and Marc’s baby brother, 19-year old Adria, is 6-10 and was a redshirt freshman this past season at UCLA.

“Our younger brother is still working hard and has the ambition, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to become an NBA basketball player,” Pau Gasol said. “He redshirted, so we’ll see where he plays next year.

“If the coach wants to use Adria at UCLA or not, then maybe he’ll go somewhere else.”

Pau refuses to take any credit for for Marc winning the Defensive Player of the Year award.

“Marc has grown into a magnificent player all-around — defense, offense,” Pau Gasol said. “I’m glad that he’s getting the recognition that he deserves, because he’s worked extremely hard and his dedication has been tremendous to be where he is right now.”

Spoken like a proud big brother.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice 

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