Despite individual success, Gasol was routinely the best player on a team that failed to win a single play-off game. Many began to question if Pau was a Pippen masquerading as a Jordan. However, in February of 2008, Memphis Grizzlies manager, Chris Wallace, got into a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps and traded Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers in return for Kwame Brown’s expiring contract, Javaris Crittenton, two draft picks, and the rights to Pau Gasol’s younger brother, Marc. And for the record, I made up the part about Chris Wallace drinking Schnapps before trading Pau to the Lakers. As everybody knows, a man as regal as Chris Wallace can only be seen sipping scotch on the rocks.
It was an alcohol-induced trade that caused a seismic shift in the power-structure of the NBA. Suddenly, the resurgent Lakers (that had just lost Andrew Bynum, who was having a break out year) became armed and dangerous.
At the end of the 2008 campaign, the last two teams standing were Kevin Garnett’s Celtics and Pau Gasol’s (read: Kobe Bryant’s) Lakers. It was the opening of the newest chapter in the NBA’s most fabled rivalry. A rivalry that had laid dormant for 20 years. It would be the ultimate contrast in styles.
Gasol grew up aspiring to be a doctor. He enjoys classic music, operas, and in the summer of 2008, had never lifted a single weight in his basketball career. Garnett was the trash-talking, chest-thumping, intimidating (more on this later) catalyst of one of the nastiest teams in recent memory. He had made a living out of picking on smaller (and generally foreign) players. Garnett, then the Defensive Player of the Year, looked at Gasol much like a shark looks at fish in the sea.
Frankly, I don’t remember much of the 2008 Finals. Whenever I hooked up with a woman of ill-repute during my freshman year, I simply blocked it out of my mind. It’s like it never happened. You could show me pictures, and I’d claim they were photoshopped. This is the treatment I gave the 2008 NBA Finals. I don’t remember anything. I’m told though, by people who claim that the 2008 Finals did indeed happen, that Gasol got his lunch money taken by an angry Garnett throughout the series. I haven’t seen video evidence of this (or any of the 2008 Finals), but I’m told this happened.
After the Celtics allegedly won the 2008 Finals, one of the random people that Sports Illustrated has let write on their last page since Rick Reilly left for ESPN, wrote an article called “the Death of Cool.” (I tried to Google it, but I don’t think Sports Illustrated has figured out the internet yet. I assume you can find it in a “library”–whatever those are). The gist of the article was calling out Garnett for screaming “ANYTHINNNNG’S POSSSSIBLLLE” after winning his first ring. Yes, Kevin, Adam Morrison has many NBA Championships as you, so I suppose anything is indeed possible.
NEXT: Taking different routes…