November 1, 2014

Pau Gasol is 2008 European Player of the Year

2009/01/03 11:45 pm 11:45 pm11:45 pm11:45 pm 1 comment

Pau Gasol celebrates during the 2008 OlympicsSpanish basketball superstar Pau Gasol was honored with the coveted “European Player of the Year” award by Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.

Gasol won the award for his accomplishments in 2008.  Gasol helped the Los Angeles Lakers reach the 2008 NBA Finals after being traded away by the Memphis Grizzles for his brother Marc, Javaris Crittenton, and Kwame Brown.

Though the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in six games, Gasol’s presence provided Kobe Bryant a consistent interior presence, and a mentor to the young Andrew Bynum.  The Lakers would go 27-9 with Gasol in their lineup, and ended the regular season as divisional champions, and with the best record in an ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Then in August, Pau Gasol won the silver medal with the Spanish National Team in the 2008 Beijing  Olympics.   Losing to the US National Team 118-107, the Spaniards put up a valiant effort as the underdogs to the American “Redeem Team”.  Gasol scored 21 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in the Olympic Final game.

In 8 Olympic games, Pau Gasol led the entire Olympic field in scoring (19.6) and was second in Field Goal Percentage (65.3%), and he also led Spain in rebounds (7.0) and blocks (1.1).

Gasol finished the voting with 116 points, defeating his Spanish National teammate Rudy Fernandez, whom placed second with 76 points.  Hideyet Turkoglu was third and  Another one of Pau’s team mates, Ricky Rubio, finished fifth.

Coincidentally on the same day that Gasol won the award, he also surpassed 10,000 NBA points in the Laker’s win over the Utah Jazz, and put on a spectacular move towards the end of the game; Pau gathers in a rebound, dribbles up court with Kobe Bryant to his right and Trevor Ariza to his right, fakes the behind-the-back pass between his legs at midcourt, and makes a no-look scoop pass to Trevor Ariza for the slam.  You have to see it to believe it:

The 28 year old forward-center is the first Spanaird to win the annual award in 30 years of existence.  Dirk Nowitzki had dominated the award in the 2000s, winning the honor five straight years (2001-2006) before Tony Parker won the award last year in 2007.

Other past winners of the La Gazzetta dello Sport award include European superstars and former NBA players Arvydas Sabonis of Lithuania, whom won the award a record six times, Drazen Petrovic of Croatia (4), Toni Kukoc of Croatia (4), and Peja Stojakovic of Serbia (1).

Ann Wauters of Belgium won the award on the women’s side.  Below is the list of Men’s winners since 1979.

1979 – Vladmir Tkachenko (Urss)
1980 – Dalipagic (Jug)
1981 – Kicanovic (Jug)
1982 – Kicanovic (Jug)
1983 – Dino Meneghin
1984 – Arvydas Sabonis (Urss)
1985 – Arvydas Sabonis (Urss)
1986 – Drazen Petrovic (Jug)
1987 – Nikkos Galis (Gre)
1988 – Arvydas Sabonis (Urss)
1989 – Drazen Petrovic (Jug)
1990 – Toni Kukoc (Jug)
1991 – Toni Kukoc (Jug)
1992 – Drazen Petrovic (Cro)
1993 – Drazen Petrovic (Cro)
1994 – Toni Kukoc (Cro)
1995 – Arvydas Sabonis (Lit)
1996 – Toni Kukoc (Cro)
1997 – Arvydas Sabonis (Lit)
1998 – Toni Kukoc (Cro)
1999 – Arvydas Sabonis (Lit)
2000 – Gregor Fucka (ITA)
2001 – Predrag Stojakovic (Ser)
2002 – Dirk Nowitzki (Ger)
2003 – Dirk Nowitzki (Ger)
2004 – Dirk Nowitzki (Ger)
2005 – Dirk Nowitzki (Ger)
2006 – Dirk Nowitzki (Ger)
2007 – Tony Parker (Fra)
2008 – Pau Gasol (Spa)

Links and ResourcesPau Gasol, the Best (SportsYa.com), Pau Gasol great pass, dribble move against the Utah Jazz (YouTube), , Pau Gasol conquista el premio Europlayer 2008 (Marca), Tony Parker wins 2007 European of the Year Award (Gazzetta dello Sport) (Interbasket), Pau Gasol Photo/Video Thread (Interbasket)

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