Pau Gasol(notes) is soft. He's a sissy who tends to disappear during big games. He's good, but he's not that good. You've heard things like this, I'm sure. They're all over the Internet, and the Internet is never wrong.
But here's the other thing. Pau Gasol is awesome. And I don't mean in the basketball way, even though that's true too. No, I'm talking about in the "away from basketball" way, where Pau has befriended Placido Domingo, cameoed on CBS shows, and has just generally had a great time being Pau Gasol.
As if you needed more evidence of this, Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins has an outstanding, and hilarious, profile of the Lakers big man. It's chock full of incredible.
For instance, Pau's visit to the Children's Hospital in Hollywood, which is exactly what you'd expect from an All-Star center:
At Children's Hospital he met with doctors in a conference room, quizzing them about their treatment of patients with scoliosis, asking how they ensure that their procedures do not stunt lung development. "We all looked at each other like, How does he know this stuff?" says Dr. David Skaggs, chief of orthopedic surgery. Next month Gasol is scheduled to sit in on a spinal surgery with Skaggs, dressed in scrubs. "We talk to him now almost like he is a surgical colleague," Skaggs says.
He's just like every other NBA center who dropped out of medical school before entering the draft.
Maybe you'd like to know about Pau's grace while winning MVP of the Copa Del Ray tournament in 2001, where he made a great impression on the international basketball world.
More than 40 NBA scouts attended the annual Copa Del Rey tournament in 2001, which features the top eight Spanish teams, and Gasol led Barcelona to the title while being named MVP. "I remember him raising the trophy," said Walt Szczerbiak, the U.S. ambassador for the ACB League, "and he almost hit the king of Spain in the face."
That's the Pau Gasol we know and love.
Apparently, hilarity follows the entire Gasol family like a lost dog. For instance, did you know Marc Gasol(notes) weighed 330 pounds in high school? It's true, and that's why his teammates called him "Big Burrito," which just so happens to be the greatest nickname of all-time.
Jenkins' profile is an amazing read, so be sure to check out the entire thing. You're going to need to know this stuff to keep up with the jokes of the next few months.