The story starts with Tinsletown. The 2006-07 Lakers were the latest in a trio of disappointing seasons, their latest attempt ending in a five game loss to the 2nd seed Phoenix Suns lead by Steve Nash. While Kobe Bryant discovered the struggles of solo stardom the Lakers struggled to make deep playoff runs. Failing to put a competent team around Kobe and Lamar Odom doomed the Lakers to NBA purgatory. They were just good enough to claim a playoff spot, but that left them ineligible to receive a high draft pick. The Lakers faced the dilemma of trading Bryant for rebuilding pieces, or hoping to strike gold in the draft.

The 2007 off-season was a failure and the Lakers were stuck with their rookies. Neither Jarvis Crittenton or Sun Yue made a difference and the Lakers found themselves in the same mediocre position. The Lakers did acquire one more asset, the draft rights to Marc Gasol. After his contract with the Liga ACB finished, Gasol would start his NBA career.

Marc Gasol:  Euro League MVP

The Lakers struck gold with a blockbuster deadline trade. Moving Kwame Brown, Jarvis Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol and a pair of first round picks for Grizzlies star Pau Gasol. Marc Gasol went on to win the 2007-08 ACB Most Valuable Player award. He lead CB Girona to a quarterfinals finish behind averages of 16.2 points on 65.2% shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Marc Gasol: The Climb 

His career blossomed in Memphis. While he didn’t put up jaw dropping numbers on a nightly basis, Gasol quickly found a spot in the NBA. He played all 82 games in his rookie campaign, starting in 75 of them. His averages of 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in his rookie campaign earned him All-Rookie Second Team honours. He set the rookie record for field goal percentage with 53%, a record previously held by his brother Pau.

He would continue to impress as he lead the Grizzlies in both Field Goal Percentage and Blocked shots during his first three seasons. When the Grizzlies’ upset the San Antonio Spurs dynasty in 2011 it thrust him onto the scene.

Marc Gasol: Decorated

Marc Gasol continued to impress for the rest of his tenure in Memphis. He rounded out his skill set with slick passing as well as phenomenal defence. Gasol was Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He also received two All-NBA selections and All-star nods. His 2015 All-Star selection had him make history as the first time brothers would face each other in the all-star game tip-off. Pau would win that tip. 

Gasol was named to the All-Defensive Second Team in 2013, despite being named the best defender in the league due to a flaw in the old voting system. This also happened with Alvin Robertson, Dikembe Mutombo, and Tyson Chanlder. The system was changed for in 2014.

Marc Gasol had an exceptional run in Memphis. He left as their most decorated player and the leader in 10 statistical categories. These accomplishments made it game changing when the veteran centre was traded to Toronto for Jonas Valančiūnas, Delon Wright and CJ Miles in 2019.

Marc Gasol: The Raptor

Marc Gasol style of play fit in easily with Toronto. No other centre in the league offered the unique skill set that the veteran centre had at his disposal. His sharp shooting, defence and passing ability were valuable assets throughout the championship run.

Gasol was the last foundational piece for the champion Toronto Raptors. A force from the start, his efforts made Nikola Vucevic a non-factor in the first round. Throughout the playoffs “Big Marc” continued making clutch shots, and commanding the Raptors’ defence. 

On November 25th, 2019 fans witnessed his best performance as a Raptor. His modest box score stats fail to show that during that game Marc Gasol held All-Star Starter Joel Embiid scoreless. There has never been a game where an All-Star centre was so utterly neutralized and Gasol’s showcase stands as one of the most impressive defensive spectacles in the history of the NBA. 

Big Spain: The Illustrous

Marc Gasol has gone through a journey of a career. From being traded for his brother, to being a franchise player, to being a champion. The Spanish centre has stepped up to the plate time after time, and has become a veritable Swiss army knife of versatility. He is well deserving of his accolades, his place on the Raptors as well as his NBA Championship and his iconic championship celebrations. 

As Gasol enters the concluding arc of his career, he still has a lot to offer. In 2019 alone he won two separate  championships. He stands as one of those few valuable impact players who change any good team, to a great team. Raptors fans will surely cheer on Big Spain in as he continues his career.