The last Selection of Pau Gasol ends this table in Valencia against Iran twenty years after the first. Gasol was already a thunderbolt in his appearance in Istanbul in 2001. Since then, what came was a storm of success with a generation that has known how to renew itself. The first Corps Guard, with Navarro, Carlos Jiménez, Garbajosa and Felipe, gave way to another with Marc, Rudy, Llull, Sergio and Claver (Ricky’s case is the case of a prodigy who was already in Beijing at the age of 18), that also now gives its last blows. All of them have been survived by Pau, about whose recovery there were many reservations. First, that he stepped onto a professional basketball court again. And then, that he did it at the level he has shown at Barça in recent games. For the 41 years that he is about to turn on Tuesday the 6th, he has been remarkable.
Pau takes up his last dance, but the programmer of everything is Sergio Scariolo, who uses the calculator to measure times, individual physical states and, meanwhile, shape a team that, for obvious reasons, is going to have very specific characteristics. At the moment, there are four games before the trip to the United States that the teacher from Brescia will use as a laboratory to test equipment and systems.
In those four meetings, and if only those who will be in Tokyo travel to the United States, six players will fall. Brizuela, Sergi Martínez, López-Arostegui, Sebas Saiz and Alocén are favorites to be in that court. Garuba and Oriola can play a position. The Barça captain has joined the concentration after having spent a few days confined for being in contact with a positive.
Iran, the 23rd team in the world rankings, arrives in Valencia also preparing for the Games, a feat for the Iranians led, as almost always, by Hamed Haddadi, Marc’s former teammate in the NBA. “He was my best friend, one of my best friends, in Memphis. We talked all the time. I have followed him in his career and, to this day, he is one of the best centers in the world. I sent him a couple of messages when he won the championship. He deserves to have won the ring ”, he said in AS in September 2019, when Spain and Iran met in the first phase of the World Cup and Marc finished being champion with Scariolo in the Raptors. Two weeks later, he was also a world champion. And here is Marc Gasol again, after some doubt about his presence, but on a memorable mission with his brother Pau, whom he will accompany until the end of his career in one of those images that transcend the sport itself.