Marc Gasol's link in the Lakers and their learning together: "He will be honest when he must"

Both coincided in one of the best stages of the Memphis Grizzlies, with Hollins on the bench and Gasol as the benchmark of the squad.


The Raptors made him champion and the Lakers are his current team, but something very special was built in Memphis. And that is why Marc Gasol always considered it his home. There he trained when his brother Pau came to the NBA and there he made his debut when his brother was transferred to the Los Angeles franchise, a beautiful loop that they still want to show off. The transfer one day criticized became an impressive value for some Grizz that in those years lived the most fierce game ever seen there and served as antiheroes of a basketball league that vibrated with the spectacularity of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or the Spurs, among others.

In 2008, the year of the jump to the NBA, the Grizzlies coach was Marc Iavaroni, who had been re-engaged from having been with Pau and also with Juan Carlos Navarro. It lasted a season, without pain or glory, and the change was called Lionel Hollins. And boy was there a turn of the wheel. In Memphis, as he admits, they still call him a legend if they see him on the street. It was created, with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley as the brightest players but with an army of soldiers such as Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, a particular environment. The shield they exercised with their style of play, very defensive and constant fighting against teams with more quality in their hands but with fewer arrests, made them go up. Marc became the best center in the NBA, Hollins earned a position for many years as a coach: now both are in Los Angeles and both with rings on their hands (in Hollins' case, as a coach because as a player he already he won it in 1977).

The relationship between boss and subject was made strong by the character of the two and by the mutual respect they maintain to this day. In the season change that occurred in 2020, with Marc being a free agent and looking for a team, the two had a conversation the same day that it became known that Gasol was leaving for the Lakers.

In words collected by Kyle Goon in The Orange County Register the two speak of this meeting in the current NBA champion.

"It seemed like I was doing the job of a commercial," he says about the call last November: "We talked about many things: what we were doing as a team, how it could fit in, etc. It's one thing to listen to what your agent tells you. or the general manager, another is to hear it from someone on the ground. I thought what I said might help him. " And the signing became effective. "It is true that now we shoot more triples and the technology we use to study the game is modern, but Marc fits with whatever you want to do. Because when you have the intelligence to play that he has, you fit," he adds about what they believed that it could and is already contributing. "Before I was much less, how would I put it, slim," Hollins jokes about Gasol's physical change from the Memphis days.

That stage of only four years changed the city, made basketball a real attraction for sports fans in a city and state known for another spectacle: music. Those playoffs against the Spurs, the battles against the Clippers, heart-stopping victories and three starts in four attempts. Then everything continued with Dave Joerger and David Fizdale, but with the rope around his neck of trying one more step and not being able to take it. That is why Lionel Hollins' passage through the Grizzlies is kept as something magical.

"Back then, as a coach, he allowed us to be honest from the beginning. He practically trained us the way he wanted to train us, but he was very tough and brutally honest with us. He made us responsible for the situation," he sums up. "Meeting him is special and a great reason to be with the Lakers. He is someone that I know will be truly honest when it comes to being," he concludes.

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