A lot of the attention in Game 1 of the NBA Finals justifiably went to Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, who notched 32 points to fuel a 118-109 upset victory. An unsung hero in the Toronto frontcourt was also 7-foot-1, 255-pound center Marc Gasol.
The 34-year old Spaniard tallied 20 points and seven rebounds while outmuscling Golden State’s trio of DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney. He will look to continue his strong play as the Raptors keep pushing for their first-ever NBA championship.
Most people know that his brother is 6-time All-Star center Pau Gasol, but what about the rest of the family? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Along with Pau, Marc’s Brother Adria Walked on at UCLA
The accolades for Pau Gasol are vast and numerous. He was selected No. 3 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2001 NBA Draft. He won a pair of NBA titles as Kobe Bryant’s second banana for the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. Along with his six All-Star Game appearances, he’s made the All-NBA team four times and notched a Rookie of the Year Award in 2002.
Overall, he has been the more productive scorer. Pau has scored 17 points per game in his career, while Marc is slightly lower at 15 points per contest. Marc is the younger brother, and as Bryant stated in a SI.com article, he’s the more adventurous of the two.
“It’s always the case where it’s like the older sibling is the more poised, responsible, less adventurous one, you know what I mean?” Bryant said. “If they’re standing there on a cliff and they’re getting ready to bungee jump, Pau might ask how the bungee jump works. ’Is it completely safe?’ And Marc, being the younger one, would just jump.”
They also have a younger brother named Adria, who walked on at UCLA in 2012. Per a Bleacher Report article from Kyle Newport, Adria is slightly shorter than his two older brothers at 6-foot-10, but was not expected to play basketball growing up.
Gasol was not expected to play basketball growing up, and he barely played in his first two years at Lausanne High School in Memphis. He spent the past two years in Spain but will come back to the United States for college.
According to ESPN, Adria wore No. 50 for the Bruins and did not record any statistics.
2. His Father is Agusti Gasol & His Mother is Marisa
The Gasol children reaped the benefits of their parents’ genetics. Both were basketball players, according to the Los Angeles Times, with the father Agusti standing at 6-foot-3 and the mother Marisa Saez standing 6-foot-1. Both are also in the medical community, as Marisa is a doctor and Agusti is a nursing administrator.
In an interview with Sports Magister, Agusti confirmed that Marisa played for a club team called CB Cornella. He also talked about how the family desired to move to Memphis to be closer to Pau when he hit the NBA in the early 2000s.
I personally think it is the best decision we took in our lives. We tried the family life to be just the same we had in Sant Boi (Barcelona). We wanted to be just a regular family. When the kids left home to study or play, we always told them to enjoy themselves. We never threw fireworks at their success. We never told them how good they were. We just wanted to be regular people and I think this was very good for their education.
Like Adria, Marc attended Lausanne in Memphis. He eventually was drafted in the second round by the Lakers in the 2007 NBA Draft.
3. Marc Learned About Gardening From His Parents
Marc is a bonafide gardener, as he maintains his own vegetables that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. Per an article by GQ in Dec. 2017, he inherited the green thumb from his parents.
Gasol had always been fond of gardening thanks to his parents, but he elected to build his own garden at a time when he was removing processed foods, red meats, and sugars from his diet. Thanks to a sprained MCL that forced him to miss a significant portion of the prior season, he had time to evaluate how the foods he was putting into his body affected him…
He frequently posts pictures of his garden on his Instagram page.
4. Marc & Pau Competed in Basketball in Their Grandma’s Backyard
Like all brothers, Marc and Pau competed in many things. When it came to basketball, their battles took place in their grandmother’s backyard. According to USA Today’s Commercial Appeal when Pau faced Marc in the postseason in 2017:
The Gasols tangled on the grounds of their grandparents’ home. They’ve even started for opposite conferences in an NBA All-Star game. This is the first time their test of wills and needing to win matters most.
Pau with the Spurs. Marc suiting up for the Grizzlies.
“One of us is going to feel (crappy) after the series is over,” Marc said, adding that “you always go back to grandma’s backyard. It’s just a lot more people watching. There’s a lot of payback in this. He’s older than me and used to be taller than me so hopefully this is my time.”
5. Marc is Married to Cristina Blesa & Has 1 Daughter
According to El Mundo, Gasol married Cristina Blesa on August 7, 2013 in Girona, a city in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region, beside the River Onya. It was a private ceremony with 18 security officials monitoring paparazzi.
According to Vanitatis, the initial confirmation of the wedding came from Marc when he sat down for an interview alongside his brother Pau, a center for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Divinity talked about how the couple took a boat trip off Menorca in February of that year. In this piece, it was confirmed that Blesa and Gasol had been living for six years in Memphis before getting hitched.
The two have one daughter named Julia Gasol Blesa. That’s right, sh took the last name of her mother. Marc and Julia took a picture of them playing hide and go seek and posted it to Instagram with the caption: “Will mommy find us?!”
When both Pau and Marc made the All-Star Game in 2015, Julia attended, but failed to stay awake. Marc still appreciated the fun moment for the family. Per USA Today:
“It was a really special moment for everybody,” Marc Gasol said. “For our parents on the stands, our little brother on the stands, my wife and mom — my daughter, for the first time watching the game. Well, I don’t think she watched much. I think at the half, she fell asleep, from what I saw.”
However, Gasol was still enthusiastic about the night.
“It was special,” he said. “It was real emotional. But at the same time, I was real happy.”
Here’s what his daughter may have missed: he had 6 points on the night, while Pau had 10.