By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
Marc Gasol has produced 17.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks per contest since returning to action as a member of Basquet Girona. The Catalonian club has won all three games with the team owner and founder expanding his role into the playing squad.
“I know perfectly well that if I wanted to continue in the NBA, I would be there now, but it was not my priority,” he told Cadena SER, “My priority was to be physically fit and recover.”
Gasol, 36, admitted to rushing his return to action after Girona’s poor start in LEB Oro, Spain’s second division. His side improved to 5-7 since he opted to get back on the court.
“I am not very nostalgic nor look back and miss things,” he mentioned regarding his 13-year run in the NBA, “I try to stand by my decisions as effectively as possible and live the present.”
“I enjoyed the NBA. I lived it to the fullest,” he added, “Now, my reality is this and I am enjoying it very much. It seems to be easier but I haven’t retired. Leading a growing club has its challenges and learning that is not easy.”
Between 2016 and 2018, he actually played for CB Girona, an earlier edition of the city’s team. The current team he founded in 2014 was promoted to LEB Oro in 2020. A couple of years later, he became an active member of the playing squad as well.
“Two different responsibilities. I am fine with my dual role. It is a challenge with few references to rely on,” pointed out Gasol, “I am happy with the day-to-day challenges presented to me, both managing and the simplest part which is on the court. That’s what I have been doing all my life and it comes naturally, but it also has its challenges.”
Before joining Girona, he was linked to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and ACB giant FC Barcelona. He confirmed talking to former teammate and Barca team manager Juan Carlos Navarro. His brother, Pau, had decided to return to Barcelona after concluding his own successful NBA run and from there retire last October.
“I spoke with someone from Barca because he is one of my favorite people in the world and the team manager,” he said, “I explained my situation to him. But we never talked about anything more than that. He respected it, understood it, and understands it.”
“I want to enjoy and live day by day,” he replied to a question on potentially retiring following the 2021-22 season, “We are always thinking about yesterday and tomorrow. It is difficult for us to be able to enjoy training with our teammates. You must think about today. When the time comes, depending on your status, you decide. It is not necessary to make decisions about things that happen in two or three months. I am not going to waste energy on that right now.”
Gasol and Girona are scheduled to visit Madrid’s WiZink Center to face Movistar Estudiantes tomorrow, Sunday (12:00 CET). The next opponent carrying a 10-2 record, among the strongest LEB Oro teams, presents the toughest challenge to date for the veteran big man and teammates.
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