Spurs forward Pau Gasol is part of many elite clubs in the NBA. A two-time champion, a six-time All Star, four-time All NBA selection, 2002 NBA rookie of the year, the list goes on.
Gasol is also one of just two active NBA players to have been coached by two of the game's biggest characters and best coaches. Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau.
In his 18th year as a player, Gasol seems just as hungry as ever to succeed!
He's also played for Phil Jackson, but he spoke to ESPN's Nick Friedell about what it's like to be coached by both 'Pop' and 'Thibs'.
Gasol singled out the fact that both men were highly passionate about the game, but that they showed this very different ways:
"They bring a certain passion to the game," Gasol told ESPN. "Maybe in different ways, but you see that emotion from both coaches. They both care truly and are devoted to the game."
The former Laker also detailed that the intense preparation that both Popovich and Thibodeua put into everything was a big factor in his decision to join each of them as a free agent.
"The conversations that I had with Thibs were positive. It seemed like we were going to be on the same page," he noted. "And when I decided to come to San Antonio, same deal. I knew Pop was an excellent coach, a guy that is at the top of the top, considered, I think, for most of us, the best coach that is out there today."
The six-time All Star then went on to describe why so many people respect Popovich, not just on the court, but off it too:
"The experience and success of Pop -- it's one of a kind and is very unique," Gasol said. "So that gives him a certain poise in order to handle adversity. And he also has a side of him that basketball is basketball -- he keeps it in perspective. Pop, I think, understands there are things that are bigger and better in life, and this is our job, and we're very lucky to do what we do, but it's nothing compared to tragedies and situations that people go through, unfortunately, too much in the world. So I think he has that maturity, or personal aspect, that makes him very special."
Popovich is a five-time champion and three-time coach of the year, so it's easy to see why Gasol holds him in such high regard. And, from what the Spanish giant revealed, it's also easy to see why Popovich has had such a longevity of success.
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