When Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw from the Olympics due to injury earlier this week, it left a hole on more than Spain's tennis team. Nadal was also set to carry the flag for the opening ceremonies. With the tennis star unavailable, Spain turned to another champion.
So Gasol seems pretty excited about the prospect. Which is nice.
Gasol's ridiculously popular in Spain, as best illustrated by perhaps by the greatest NBA-related Rolling Stone cover of all time, an Olympics silver medalist and FIBA World Championships gold medalist, and, you know, he's buds with Kobe Bryant. That always helps for the international appeal.
A great choice and with all that Gasol has done for the sport in Spain, a fitting reward for the work he's put in. And hey, with Serge Ibaka on his team, he likely won't get overshadowed this time.