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Pau Gasol not a fan of Denver's talk

Mar 1, 2010, 9:05 AM EDT

gasol_game.jpgPau Gasol is one of the more soft-spoken, cerebral players in the NBA. In a league where smack talk is an art form, Gasol is virtually a mime.

Kenyon Martin? He’s a talker. Most of his Denver teammates are talkers. And Gasol doesn’t like that.

“They talk too much,” the normally reserved Gasol said after the game. “Way too much. I don’t listen to things that don’t make sense. I’m a player that likes to play and that’s how I talk, by me playing. Other players can’t do that.”

Gasol finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and as he said did his talking with his play. Often that gets interpreted as soft, because people think he is a 7-footer therefore should play like Shaq, that he needs to be a man of words and brute force. But Gasol’s game is subtler than that.

On one sequence, Kenyon Martin patted Gasol on the butt as he said something. Gasol went down court to the Lakers offensive end, got the ball in the post, and then put on a series of well-crafted moves to get his shot and draw the foul on Martin. Gasol is not brute force, he is subtle and clever. That gets lost on those who call him soft, who expect him to be what he is not nor would ever be.

But Gasol gets the job done as well or better than any power forward on the planet right now. That is strength. Don’t believe me? Go ask Kenyon Martin today.

  1. Ron - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    He’s right.
    Talking is for punks.
    Playing the game wins championships.
    Denver talks too much, but has nothing to show for it.
    If they ever with the title, then they can talk all they want. They will have earned it. But until then, they are just a bunch of chattering fools.

  2. Craig W. - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    We seem to be a society of talkers — just ask our legislators — but it is the people who do, not those who talk, who accomplish something.

  3. Laker fan in brooklyn - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Some players need to talk to get themselves pumped for the game and they play with emotion,I have no problem with this as long as the game is clean.I love Pau and accept the fact he is a ” soft ” player and doesn’t talk smack, everyone in the NBA is looking for a edge and alot of players try to get into your head just like Dennis Rodman did during his time.The Lakers don’t care about this anyway, they won the game yesterday and Pau has the best player in the world to help him talk trash, Black Mamba will do all Pau’s talking for him.

  4. Bonaire - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    “Talking is for punks”? Really? Two of the biggest trash talkers of all time are Larry Bird and Micheal Jordan. However, I am a die hard Nugs fan and wish they would focus more on playing sound technical ball (a pipe dream) and talk a bit less.

  5. AP Kieran's Dad - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Bonaire hit it…MJ and Larry Legend, the best trash talkers ever, because they backed it up. I am also a die-hard Nuggets fan, and I’ve watched them closely for years, and all they do is keep getting better. But, I agree, it’s time for them to back it up. Also, I think it’s funny that Gasol is saying this when his teammate is Kobe Bryant, one of the best talkers of today. And I say that with reverence, because he, too, backs it up. Go Nugs, take down the Lakers!

  6. Lion Woods - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    The Lakers are a class act. I’ve been a Lakers man since the greatest player ever to lace up a pair of converse in Magic Johnson ripped and run just for fun. Gasol is a competitor and has the best possible cast of teammates you could want in Kobe & Co. Kobe is great. I see him and Jackson playing and winning the gold come June 2010. Nuggets are young and energetic and colorful. Chauncey is at home, and will be at home watching the Lakers versus the best of LeBron in June. Lakers in six.

  7. PEBO - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    The only way Denver gets a RING is to obtain a CENTER like Dwight Howard. NeNe is too Small and shooting 3’s will get you some wins, but it will also get you a whole bunch of Losses…I think Dallas has the best chance of beating the Lakers this year with their new additions Caron and Brandon.

  8. ebb - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Nugs fan here, and yeah, they should concentrate on playing more consistently. When they do that, they will be the best team in the West. Yesterday they lost their focus and let LA back. They minimize those lapses and they’re 3-0 against LA this season. Still, 2-1 with two double digit wins shows they are equal to LA. As far as the talking goes, next time you watch LA, pay attention to how much whining and complaining and crying they do. Every time there is the slightest contact, they pout. You are the defending champs, LA. You are going to get the other team’s toughest effort night in and night out. Deal with it, or step to the side.

  9. formerfoodbloggerpaulfrancis - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Equal to LA? Need a ring. Nuggets are an excellent team this year and will be the Lakers’ biggest challenge, due to their streaky energy and grit. If they catch fire at the right moments… And Afflalo was impressive last night. I’m just glad JR didn’t get too many opportunities to celebrate (taunt?) yesterday. Was his neck bleeding or is that part of a tattoo?

  10. Nugget Fan - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    The Lakers don’t talk! Are you kidding me. Have you not seen them cry EVERY play down the floor when they don’t score? Mrs. Kobe is all up in the Ref’s ear BEGGING for a foul to be called. Yet on the defensive end he is doing the EXACT same thing as he was just complaining about. Guaranteed, if the Lakers didn’t get all the calls they do from the Ref’s…they would not have the record they currently do. THEY DEFINITELY TALK.

  11. He is soft!!! - Mar 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Bad article. The author conflates to separate ideas. 1. Don’t talk if you aren’t going to back it up and 2. Gasol is not soft. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.
    The opposing team could play silently and coridally hand the ball to the referee after every made basket and Pau Gasol would still be the softest euro to ever grace the American game. The guy is playdough.
    Yea he can hit a 5 ft jump hook. However, his help defense isn’t anywhere as impressive as other bigs who routinely alter and block shots by “owning” the paint. Gasol will never own the paint. He is soft.
    Americans are accustomed to the past few decades where big men could play in the post. We don’t particularly care for 7 footers (and I mean you Yao Ming and Pau Gasol) who can shoot with range. These Euro bigs need to grow a pair and get back to the blocks.

  12. gatogrande - Mar 1, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    but we win!

  13. oh Brother - Mar 1, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    geeze nugs fan and the other guy there is a difference between pointing out how refs ignore being fouled and talking trash thuggets talk trash before the game even is played and btw they were whining just like very nba player be it lakers cavs or thuggets. thats part of the game but talking smack before you get on the court please get your facts straight

  14. OldSchooler - Mar 1, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    I’d agree with oh Brother (above); there’s a difference between talking trash to other players and complaining to the refs. I haven’t seen Kobe talk much trash to other players. He did complain to the refs in the first half of yesterday’s game and rightfully so. The refs simply ignored a lot of obvious fouls. At half time they saw the fact that Denver had 23 foul shots and LA had 4 and they rectified this in the 2nd half. But they went too far with Carmello’s 6th (offensive) foul. That was a bad call, especially at the end of the game. Kobe often has a legitimate beef because they let people foul him more than other superstars (except maybe Shaq), but sometimes Kobe tries to force shots, expecting the foul and he (rightfully) doesn’t go to the line. K-Mart does talk trash a lot and tries to bait players. He is a bit of a bully and tries to use intimidation to make up for lack of size and talent. This is fine. He was doing this to Gasol yesterday. In particular, he fore-armed Pau in the face (should have been an offensive foul) when he drove to the middle that one time. But Pau is not handling this correctly by complaining to the media. The way to handle a bully is to get in his face and let him know that it’s not going to work. It’s not about European players being soft. Nobody punks Dirk, just like nobody punks Kobe. It’s about establishing respect. The best example of this in the whole NBA is Carmello. Mello smiles all the time. He knows he’s playing a game and has fun. He dishes out just as much punishment as he gets. Probably more. You will never see anybody try to punk Carmello. Early in his career he established the fact that you can’t go over the line with him when he punched that dude. Every body remembers that. Now Mello can smile and enjoy himself and just play his game because everybody knows that there is “a line” with him. Hmm..you listening Pau?

  15. timsan - Mar 1, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Melo is soft and can’t play d.

  16. OldSchooler - Mar 1, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Hi timsan, First, to clarify, I didn’t mean to sound like I was advocating fisticuffs. No. In fact, being old school, I’d like to see the NBA be about more skill and finesse and less physicality. I can see contact in the NFL. But what I want is not going to change the NBA and my point was just that boys will be boys, so you have to command respect. People respect Melo. And, he’s got a beautiful game. Never out of control. Classic jump shot. Classic drive to the hoop. Best in the game. Anyway, regarding your comment, Melo is a scorer. He may not be the best defender but no way can you say he’s soft. That’s simply not true, as I pointed out in my original comment. Best regards.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    Dam Lakers. Let someone else win a championship

  18. celtic - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    You have to give it to them there always there at the end. Our owners need to get Phill jackson

  19. stingray50 - Mar 2, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    My 1st complaint would be that the refs give way too much respect to Kobe . If the refs make one mistake in not making a call that maybe Kobe deserved they make up for it for most of the game, that’s sick!
    But that doesn’t give the nuggets an excuse to soften up .
    They started the game with great intensity and just allowed the lakers to push them around especially by Kobe who started to make hissy fits.
    Kobe wants to be like Jordan but he just can’t and never will.
    Because the refs are weak, scared or paid off, (unless some team can dominate the lakers and refs) they will repeat as champs.
    This past decade has proved it many times over
    Its hopeless

  20. Ganapia - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    At “he is soft”.
    Could you please name one player whose performance is above his average when defended by Pau Gasol? I will name you a few that are not: Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett,K-mart…

  21. T - Mar 2, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Spoken like a true Nugget fan, ha. Everyone thinks their team never gets the fouls. Its the way a true fan should feel. Whether its basketball, baseball, hockey, or that game where people kick the white ball with black spots on it.

  22. Not a Nugget Fan. - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    The nuggets are the most mouth talking team….and for what?? There the only team I know that wants to celebrate in the 2nd quarter. And they’ve been like that for a few years…Excluding Melo and Billups and some of the newbies on that squad…Kenyon Martin and J.R Smith always got something to say and then they get beat in the playoffs. No rings, all talk. So shut up and play the game…stop celebrating all extra early and then take a L at the game and no comment…

  23. Joseph Lee Yoki - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    The nuggets suck win a ring then you could talk trash and stop worrying about the Lakers so much when Utah abd Dallas are right behind you they might not even make it to the Western Conference Finals the point is take care of you own stop worrying about Lakers because they will be their

  24. Joseph Lee Yoki - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    The nuggets suck win a ring then you could talk trash and stop worrying about the Lakers so much when Utah abd Dallas are right behind you they might not even make it to the Western Conference Finals the point is take care of you own stop worrying about Lakers because they will be their

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