L.A. Lakers: Pau Gasol’s Intelligence Matters More Than His Toughness

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol may never entirely escape his reputation as a soft player, but considering the things Gasol has accomplished in his career, does it really matter?

Gasol is a two-time NBA champion, one of the most important members of the Lakers' rotation, and has been instrumental in Los Angeles reaching the NBA Finals each season since he arrived in Hollywood.

Toughness has been an issue for Gasol ever since the Lakers 2008 Finals' loss to the Boston Celtics, but he has persevered from that point by relying on his intelligence, rather than his physicality.

And when I say intelligence I don't just mean on the court.

Gasol's intelligence goes far beyond the basketball court, and if his physical skills would not have led him to the hardwood, Gasol may have very well ended up in an operating room.

Medical school was actually where Gasol envisioned himself as a child, and even though the sights and sounds of the NBA is a far different environment than an emergency room, Gasol has managed to keep in touch with his younger self.

Gasol is a frequent visitor to L.A. area hospitals and surgeons have marveled at the depth of knowledge Gasol has regarding medical procedures.

Some doctors have been so impressed that they have invited Gasol to sit-in on different operations, which may be an indication of his life course after basketball.

I have always been impressed by Gasol's intelligence on the court, and after digging a little into his earlier life, I'm not really surprised at how easy he grasps the game of basketball.

Gasol came from a family who valued education above most things, and from an early age Gasol was far more interested in broadening his horizons than sports.

That may explain Gasol's love for opera, or his interest in different languages, cultures, and history.

It was natural that Gasol would e...

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