MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After 11 seasons in the NBA, Marc Gasol finally reached the pinnacle last week by winning his first championship with the Toronto Raptors.
And despite not being on the Grizzlies anymore, Gasol still received plenty of support from Memphis.
Trading Gasol was bittersweet for Grizzlies fans. It was the end of an era, but they knew Gasol would have a chance to compete for a title.
The Memphis faithful were rooting for Toronto to beat the Golden State Warriors – a large reason was Gasol, the big man who captivated the city during the ‘Grit and Grind’ era.
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“I remember texting him at the end. Just right after the final whistle and saying dreams to come true. They certainly do, and I’m so glad they’ve come true for him,” said Stuart McCathie, headmaster at Lausanne High School – where Gasol attended.
Memphis was all he knew in the NBA before getting traded earlier this year.
McCathie said he isn’t surprised the city that saw him grow into an All-Star is still rooting for him.
“Even in brief conversations, he really endears himself to all that he meets. Everybody became a Raptors fan,” he said.
Gasol’s connection to Lausanne remains strong, according to McCathie. He retired Gasol’s jersey years ago, serving as a constant reminder for the next generation of athletes.
Watching Gasol reach his dream from afar, McCathie said there is a reason why this moment is special to Memphis.
“Not only is he talented, not only is he resilient, creative, adaptable, hard-working, focused. But above all, he’s a good person. He’s a class act and he’s humble,” McCathie said.
Gasol can become a free agent this summer, but he has a player option for almost $26 million.
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