Marc Gasol doesn’t stop making history this year, as the Spanish big man keeps collecting honors. Not only he won the NBA title with the Toronto Raptors last June, but he just won the 2019 FIBA World Cup with his national team against Argentina, defeating some of the favorite squads to win the tournament in the process.
With the World Cup win in China, Gasol has joined an elite and exclusive club of players who won the NBA title and a gold medal in the same year. If you add WNBA players, there is a total of 19 ballers, but if we keep it purely about the NBA, Gasol became the sixth player to claim the Larry O’Brien and win a gold medal a couple of months later.
He joined Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Lamar Odom, LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving as the only NBA players to pull off this feat.
Jordan did in 1992 with the famous Dream Team that had no competition in the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona and his Chicago Bulls. Pippen actually did it twice in 1992 and 1996, respectively, with the Bulls and Team USA, as well. Lamar Odom was part of that Team USA that won the World Cup in 2010 and the Los Angeles Lakers that defeated the Boston Celtics in the Finals.
LeBron James reached the milestone in 2012, where he defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals and the Spain national team in the Olympics.
Before Gasol, Kyrie Irving was the last player to join this club. Back in 2016, Irving shot that wonderful shot against the Golden State Warriors that took the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first-ever NBA title, a couple of weeks before he went to Brazil and dominated the Olympics with Team USA.
Marc Gasol has had a great career both in the NBA and at an international level, and nobody can say this hasn’t been the best year of his life. He took two teams that somehow were overlooked because of other squads and made them champions, shocking a lot of people.