Pau Gasol ascends above the thick of the Utah Jazz defense to reach for the rebound. He dribbles up court with Kobe Bryant to his right and Trevor Ariza to his left, goes between his legs, fakes the behind-the-back pass at mid-court—polarizing the defense—and finishes with a no-look scoop pass to Ariza for the slam.
And they say grace and fundamentals don’t make the highlights.
In a span of about six seconds, the Lakers 7-foot power forward (sometimes center), channeled Magic Johnson on the play and showed off a facet of his game that makes him worthy to be in the best-of-the-bigs discussion, all the while causing a buzz in the arena reminiscent of “Showtime.”
While Gasol and the Lakers, one game into the preseason, haven’t shown anything worth conjuring up murmurs and whispers among the fans in the stands, they now turn their attention to Spain, where they’ll play in Gasol’s hometown against their European counterparts, the 2010 Euroleague Champions, Regal FC Barcelona.
Next: Center-stage in Spain