Out Of The Shadow Of Big Brother

Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol has done it all in his basketball career.

He has been a winner when playing overseas with Spain, a multiple time NBA All-Star, considered one of the best centers in the NBA, won an NBA championship and is manning the paint for the Lakers as they march towards another title and the three-peat.

That’s one huge shadow to live under for Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, the younger brother of Pau. He landed in Memphis after the Grizzlies traded his brother Pau to the Lakers. Once again, he found himself following in his brother’s footsteps after Pau’s stellar career in Memphis.

But as Marc’s NBA career continues to flourish, he is coming out of the shadows of his big brother and making a name for himself.

For those who do not follow the NBA, it’s a point guard’s league. Gone are the days of the dominant big man and but when you think of the better centers in the league, Marc’s name has to be mentioned.

After a solid rookie season, he finished tied for second in voting for the 2009-10 NBA Most Improved Player Award. This season, he averaged 11.7 points, seven rebounds and much of the Grizzlies’ success this season was in large part to the play of the three-year NBA player. Once their star Rudy Gay went down with an injury for the rest of the season, Gasol remained a steady presence for Memphis.

He is tough, burly, able to pass out of the post, can score in the post and is part of Memphis’ one-two punch along side Zach Randolph. And it is because of this play on the court, he drew praise from one of the game’s best coaches — Chicago Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau.

And when you look at their bigs, (Marc) Gasol and (Zach) Randolph … they’re as good as it comes in terms of catching the ball in the paint and passing it to one another.

Indeed Marc has made huge strides in his short NBA career. He lost weight — which has made his quicker on his feet — and has displayed an array of moves. He can get a defender in the air to foul him, has a deadly hook shot and a terrific up-and-under go-to move.

Currently, the eighth seeded Grizzlies are taking on the first seeded San Antonio Spurs in the opening round of the playoffs and in game one, they sent a huge message to the mighty Spurs. They stunned the Spurs in game one, winning in San Antonio due in large part to Gasol’s play. He finished with 24 points and nine rebounds and bullied the Spurs’ bigs, helping Memphis get their first playoff win in franchise history.

If he continues this high-level play, no longer will he be referred to as Pau’s other brother. He is making a name for himself and with his play versus San Antonio in the playoff in game one, we are witnessing his coming out party during the NBA’s greatest stage, the playoffs.

(photo AP/Daylife.com)