Paul Gasol is in his 19th NBA season, which will probably be his last year playing professional basketball. He joined the Portland Trailblazers, and his experience and leadership will be helpful for a team that is hoping to make the same push into the playoffs this year. After being in the NBA for so long, Gasol reflected on his career and the game of basketball itself. In an interview done for the Spanish Marca, Gasol said the game changed to such a degree he can’t even recognize it anymore.
“A lot has changed. Mostly the game itself. Nowadays, the players immediately shoot, the possession is very short, and we see very little passing in every attack. When I started, if I took a shot at the beginning of the possession, I would end up on the bench. Today, coaches are encouraging and insisting on such a game. A shot at the basket comes after eight seconds of possession. The beauty of the game, its purity, has been lost. The ball is no longer moved from one side of the floor to another side of the floor, variation between indoor and outdoor play, two-player basketball under racket. The role of the center was lost. Today there are five kids in one team on the field, ”
Gasol also talked about the possibility of becoming a coach one day after his playing career is over. He said that idea was never so attractive to him, but now that his career is coming to an end, he believes he can give it a try. Gasol is confident his experience and knowledge of the game would be a great asset for a team looking for additional coaching presence on the floor.
“As I am unable to help my teammates on the court at the moment due to injury, I try to be useful and positively influence the team by passing on the knowledge and experience. If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have said that there is no way that I will ever be a coach, today I am no longer sure. When a player finishes his career, the role of the coach is something as close to the court as it can be. Still, I’m not thinking about it at the moment. Quite simply, it might happen.”