Pau Gasol: "The Copa del Rey is always an attractive competition".

The international centre says that "I have very good memories of this competition". Pau won the Cup and was MVP of the tournament in 2001 and acknowledges that it was an "unforgettable" experience.

Next March will mark the 15th anniversary of Pau Gasol's definitive explosion in Spain. It was in the 2000-01 season when, in the FC Barcelona shirt, the power forward from Sant Boi stopped being a promising young player and became one of the leading lights of Spanish basketball. The Catalan player took advantage of the showcase of the 2001 Copa del Rey held in Malaga to show himself to the world and a few months later he began a successful career in the NBA that is still very much alive.

"I have very good memories of this competition. The last Copa del Rey I played in was unforgettable", recalls the older Gasol brother, who before his explosion in the Andalusian city had played two games in the 2000 Copa del Rey. In Malaga 2001, the power forward led FC Barcelona to the title and was named MVP of the competition thanks to his 39 points in a memorable final against Real Madrid.

The current Chicago Bulls star, who has participated in his sixth NBA All-Star, explains that "the Copa del Rey is always an attractive competition, very interesting for the spectator and also for the player, because in theory you face the eight best teams in the league, in a single match, in a do-or-die elimination". Gasol also highlighted the role of the fans and said that they "always enjoy this tournament in a special way".

Despite the distance and the time difference, Pau does not stop following the Endesa League whenever he can, and this new edition of the Copa del Rey will be no exception. For this year's edition in A Coruña, the power forward assures that the level of the teams is very similar and all of them have a chance, but he believes that "the four top teams" will go through to the semi-finals.

"It will be interesting to see if FC Barcelona Lassa can get past Dominion Bilbao Basket and beat Valencia Basket in a hypothetical semi-final", explains Gasol. The Catalan player assures that the team coached by Pedro Martínez is a team with a high level and "it is interesting because in the Endesa League they play very well but in the Eurocup they are eliminated".

On the other side of the table, Pau acknowledges that "Laboral Kutxa Baskonia is also having a great season" and it would be very interesting to see the Basques in "a hypothetical semi-final against Real Madrid". If it were to happen, just like an FC Barcelona Lassa - Valencia Basket, the older Gasol brother assures that the two semi-finals "could be two stellar games at European level".

Endesa League press release

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