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Pau Gasol. The Spanish NBA Star

Pau Gasol biography. Read about the life of the most famous NBA Spanish star Pau Gasol.

Pau Gasol, a top level NBA center and power forward from Spain, was born on the 6th July 1980 in San Boi de Llobregat, in the province of Barcelona. He entered the world of basketball at a very young age, playing with club teams and later joining the junior program from FC Barcelona when he was 16 years old. Because he was so successful at such a young age he was forced to give up his plans to study medicine.

Playing for FC Barcelona's basketball team when he was just 16 years old, he triumphed in the junior categories and participated in the junior national teams from Spain. As a member of the national team, he won the European Junior Championship and the Albert Schweitzer Trophy. Both tournaments permitted scouts from American university see Pau play and offer him scholarships to study and play in the US. But, with the possibility of playing only sparingly, Pau chose to remain in Spain to continue his playing career.

In the 98-99 season, Gasol moved up to the ACB league, the highest category in Spanish basketball. His professional career started with in Barcelona and his first game with them ended disastrously when his team was beaten by the modest club team Cáceres C.B. 92-78. Unfortunately he would only play three games in the first division before being sent down to play with the fourth division EBA team.

In the 99-00 season he would play in the first division ACB definitively, although he was far from the star he is today. In the 00-01 season is when he finally took off professionally becoming a leading player for Barcelona and replacing injured American star, Rony Seikaly. Pau would come into his own in the Copa del Rey and Euroliga championships. With an average of 11 points, 5 rebounds and 24 minutes of playing time per game, Pau was ready to take on the NBA and declared himself eligible for the draft.

Selected third overall by the Atlantic Hawks, which was at that time the highest draft position achieved by a foreign player who had not trained in the US. Immediately, Pau was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he played until 2008. Pau immediately made an impression on the mediocre Grizzlies and instantly made the team better. In the 05-06 season, Pau would become the first Grizzly to appear in an All-Star Game. In that game he would end as the rebound leader with 12 rebounds for the game. In the 06-07 Season Pau would surpass Shareef Abdur-Raheem as the franchise leader in points scored with 7,808 points scored.

In February of 2008 Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would finally achieve his dreams as a professional basketball player. Joining Kobe Bryant, this team would bring back the glory the Lakers once enjoyed with other stars like Magic, Kareem and Worthy. In his first year with the Lakers he would go the Finals but lose to the Boston Celtics two games to four.

In June 2009, Gasol won the NBA Finals with the Lakers, being the first Spanish player to achieve this. In 2010, the Lakers would repeat as champions and cemented himself as one of the premier centers in the NBA. Pau would continue to be one of the key members of the team and reach the playoffs during the next three seasons.

In July 2014, after having a difficult season plagued by injuries and an offensive system implemented by second year coach Mike D'Antoni that marginalized Pau, he decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls. Even though he turned down an important offer from the Lakers, it is clear that Pau wants to be on a team that values his skills and has the potential to win games.

Along with his brother Marc Gasol, Pau is one of the key players that the Spanish team is formed around. Pau and the national team have made basketball an important sport in Spain after years of turbulence and indifference. Spain has become one of the powerhouses of basketball at the international level. The team has achieved great success the last 30 years by winning silver medals in the Olympics from 1984, 2008 and 2012.

The national team under the leadership of Pau also won the 2006 World Championship in Japan.