Pau Gasol had a chance to hold court during his exit interview with the press and he took the time to clear up the rumors about his girlfriend, his poor player and Vanessa and Kobe Bryant.
On Tuesday, Gasol called rumors of a rift between he and Bryant or a breakup with his girlfriend “absolutely false.”
“My girlfriend and I are fine, we’re happy, we’re doing well. Kobe and I are fine,” Gasol told ESPNLosAngeles.com
“She [Lopez Castro] was suffering because she saw me suffering. And I was suffering because I was seeing her suffering. When you add that to other stuff to what’s already happening, it’s tough.”
“I didn’t know to what extent it had become an issue,” Gasol said.
“But you do feel it because your environment feels it, and they make you feel it.”
Part of the reason the story spread and became somewhat legitimized in recent days were Gasol’s cryptic comments after the Lakers’ 122-86 loss to Dallas in Game 4 Sunday night.
Gasol said that he needed to learn to handle “whatever goes on, on or off the floor” better and “not let it affect anything that goes on on the floor.”
Tuesday, Gasol clarified his remarks, saying that he was referring to the toll the viral story had taken on him and the team.
“Everything just seemed to get bigger and heavier,” he said, referring to the wild story about Bryant’s wife and his girlfriend.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m an easy target.”
“To say that I think it was ridiculously wrong to assume some of the things that were being assumed, and to place the burden of how successful we were or were not on his shoulders.”
Lopez Castro attended Game 2 with Gasol’s mother.
“She’s been great,” Gasol said. “A great help and support throughout this process. It’s been rough for her, because it’s been really unfair to her. I mean, forget about me.”
I am a person who takes people at their word, so if Gasol says everyone was way off base in their assessment of the situation, I will roll that. With that being said there is still a big problem.
As an athlete or anyone who has a job to do, you have to be able to perform that job at a high level regardless of what is going on around you or in your personal life.
We are all human and we are all affected by things that are happening around us, but sometimes you just have to take deep breath and push through.
It doesn’t matter what I say, Stephen A. Smith, Media Take Out, ESPN or twitter says about Gasol, Kobe or their ladies, if they know the truth that is all that matters.
Truth is the only thing you can focus on.
Kobe played some of his best ball of his career with a “rape case” hanging over his head, so I think Gasol should be able to handle some cheating and break up rumors.
A lot of people equate Gasol being soft to his game, but I wonder if it is his mentality that is the problem?
As I has said many times Kobe can not carry the Lakers anymore, they need Gasol to be a legit #2, not a foreign version of Carlos Boozer.
Hopefully for the Lakers this will be a learning experience for him and he will come back stronger for it, because if not he might be traded away to a team where no one cares about him or Miss Castro.