Despite nearly being traded away in a three-team deal for Chris Paul, Pau Gasol is still enjoying his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. While Lamar Odom felt disrespected that his former team wanted to ship him out of town and demanded a trade to Dallas, No.16 has taken it all in stride and continues to deliver for the Lakers. Gasol is often a target for criticism, particularly for being perceived as being a ‘soft’ player. The Lakers power forward opens up again in the following interview about being disrespected by his fellow peers throughout the NBA, and also about a unique method of communication that is shared between Kobe Bryant and himself on the court.
Pau Gasol joined 790 The Ticket in Miami with Dan Le Batard and Stugotz to discuss having a fun season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard not being that much more talented than him in the low post, Kendrick Perkins and Amare Stoudemire calling him a soft player, not being bother by being called a soft player, and Kobe Bryant speaking Spanish with him on the court.
Are you having fun this year Pau?
“Well I think you nailed it when you say winning is what makes this game fun and so obviously as much as we win or the more we win the more fun we will have. I love winning. Losing is a little painful. A lot painful to me, so the more that we win the more fun that we all will have. What do you make of the fact that you came out and said something you have been saying for years that is smart. You said Andrew Bynum and yourself need to get more low post touches because Dwight Howard is not much more talented than we are. What do you make of this comment that you have been saying for years blowing up in the media this time? “I think I can’t really control if it [the comment] is talked about a lot or not in the media. I just exteriorized my thoughts at the time because we were coming off three straight losses against Miami, Orlando and Indiana and obviously it is all good when we win and I am all about winning. I don’t care too much how much we play, but if we are losing we gotta find ways to win and I think a very effective way is to use your interior game when you have it and play inside out. It makes the game a lot more simpler.”
Why do you think Kendrick Perkins and Amare Stoudemire call you a soft player?
“Sometimes I believe it is guys just talking for the heck of talking. They got nothing better to say and other times I believe there is a little bit of jealousy at times, but I can’t really control what other people say. I can control what I do and what I have been doing throughout my career, which has been very successful and help my team beat better teams. That is as much as I can control and that’s what I focus 100% on, so the rest of the stuff is a couple of guys talking here or there. It does not affect me or interfere with my life.”
So it doesn’t bother you?
“Like I said I am a competitive guy. I always try to give my best effort. Some nights it works better than others, but again it is something that it is brought up after three consecutive finals and two championships. Those thoughts kind of went away with the two championships, but again I play. I play as hard as I can and I do a pretty good job for the most part and I can live with that.”
Is it true during games that you and Kobe Bryant talk in spanish during games, so opponents can’t understand you?
“That is true. It’s more him than me actually cause he just directs me at times to little plays, wrinkles here or there, just little things that he’ll toss to me in spanish, so the opponent wont understand. It was fun…he was fun last night because Kevin Love said something like: ‘Hey we have someone who speaks spanish too, so watch out or something like that.’ It was pretty funny.