Pau Gasol thrives in 2011 Eurobasket, despite injury: Fan’s look

Like many of his fellow NBA stars, Pau Gasol(notes) is going to play basketball one way or another, despite the NBA lockout.

Playing for his native Spain has been a seamless transition for the Los Angeles Lakers forward, and he will have no qualms about playing overseas long-term if the lockout persists. Currently playing in the 2011 Eurobasket tournament with the team, he has garnered attention for the only thing that matters - his play on the court.

After what was a forgettable playoff performance at best in the 2010-2011 NBA postseason, Gasol has elevated his play on the international stage. Though he recently sustained a minor ankle sprain, he is primed to continue leading Spain through the tournament, which begins its second round September 7th. He scored 17 points in a 91-76 win over host country Lithuania on September 4th, including two three-pointers - something Lakers fans rarely see from the seven-footer.

Gasol represents a new breed of NBA elite that come from abroad, and many of these players have substantial playing opportunities to fall back on if the NBA does not get a deal done with the players. As this is looking more and more likely by the minute, fans should prepare to lose some major players to overseas leagues in the long run.

David Stern's hardheadedness is well-documented, and the longer this lockout stays at a stalemate, the more fans can expect to hear about the world's best playing elsewhere. The best players in the world both from the United States and abroad will not idly stand by and wait for the NBA to act.

These incredibly talented millionaires need two things in lieu of an NBA season: To play basketball and earn money doing it. Alternative leagues overseas offer opportunities to do both.

Clearly, the NBA is the greatest league in the world, but the gap is closing as talent has become more widely dispersed throughout the world. A player like Gasol would be extremely comfortable playing against quality talent abroad. As the lockout persists, that scenario is becoming a distinct possibility.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports. As a southern California native, he is a lifelong Laker fan and follower of the team.

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More from Michael C. Jones:

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Updated Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011