Pau Gasol has a relaxing summer


For once, Pau Gasol is taking time off in the summer, stepping away from Spanish national team obligations and concentrating on, well, the general well-being of Pau Gasol.

He’s working out with a trainer twice a day, quietly preparing for the Lakers’ upcoming season and fulfilling a longtime desire next week by visiting India for the NBA to increase its brand, and the game of basketball, in the world’s second-most-populated nation.

Gasol had a busy summer two years ago when Spain finished second to the U.S. at the Beijing Olympics, and he was the tournament MVP last September with Spain in the European Championship.


But his body appeared to wear down early last season with the Lakers, when he sat out 17 games because of two hamstring injuries, a contributing factor in his decision to sit out the World Championship, which begins in Turkey at the end of the month.

“I feel I’ve been able to disconnect from basketball and recuperate from all the fatigue that had accumulated,” Gasol said Wednesday. “I’m happy that I made the decision of not competing. It’s for the best for my body and my career. I feel good physically.”

Gasol was in South Africa when Spain won soccer’s World Cup last month and he watched another event from afar, the Miami Heat stocking up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

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“Obviously there’s going to be challenges in the road, but I think we have the right people in place,” Gasol said, crediting the Lakers’ off-season moves to shore up their bench. “We’re all getting excited about working hard to give ourselves a championship.”

Foremost right now in Gasol’s mind is a five-day trip to India, where he will conduct clinics in Mumbai for participants of the Mahindra NBA Challenge, the NBA’s first community-based basketball league in India. He’s following Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, who traveled to India in an NBA-sanctioned trip, but Gasol will bring something different: The Larry O’Brien Trophy will be making its first trip to India.

“India has always had something special that attracted me, and finally I have a chance to go there…as an NBA ambassador,” he said.

“You’ve got such a young population in India, and the presence of these incredible [NBA] athletes inspires the kids,” said Heidi Ueberroth, the NBA’s President of International. “We have young adults driving as far as 150 miles to play in the league.”

Lakers training camp begins Sept. 25 in El Segundo. Gasol will be there, fully rested, an entirely different feeling from the last two years.

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