When we sat down with Lakers All-Star forward Pau Gasol in early February, he and his teammates were on quite a roll, having won six straight road games including the confidence-cementing victories at Boston and Cleveland.
At the time, Gasol was as good as ever from an offensive perspective, and was demonstrating an impressive zest on the defensive side of the floor as well. Since we had a pretty good sense of the Spaniard on the floor, we thought it prudent to talk about everything else.
So, while Gasol – who’s currently recovering from a minor finger injury – was waiting for his midday meal (pasta with marinara sauce/grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes/coke) in his Utah hotel room, we started asking questions:
MT: Let’s begin with a no-nonsense question. What’s your favorite cereal?
Gasol: Frosted Flakes. That’s easy. Also, Corn Flakes … with sugar. I guess that’s basically Frosted Flakes, but I started eating them when I was very young in Spain.
MT: Tony the Tiger, huh. What about your favorite meal?
Gasol: Sushi. I love toro, I love sea urchin, I love salmon … All kinds really. Seafood is big part of Mediterranean culture, and I grew up eating it in Barcelona.
MT: You probably know Salma Hayek, don’t you…
Gasol: Actually I know Penelope Cruz better. I like her sister Monica (google images link), too.
MT: Your mother is a physician and your father a hospital administrator. Was education emphasized before sports as you grew up?
Gasol: Yes, it was always “Do your work before you play.” They wanted me to keep my options open, to make sure studying was a big priority over basketball because you’re not sure that sports will work out. So I stayed in school as long as I could and should have even though it was hard my first and last years in college to do both medical school and professional basketball.