A couple years ago, award-winning photographer Lori Shepler approached Lakers center Pau Gasol with the idea of collaborating on a book project that offered an intimate look into his life — a life, in which basketball plays only a part. A couple years and 275 pages later, that dream has become a reality in Pau Gasol’s new book titled Life · Vida. As the title suggests, the book is written in English and Spanish, and as only Gasol would have it, proceeds from the book, (which can be purchased here) benefit the Gasol Foundation.
There are three forewords in the book, each written by someone who has entered Gasol’s small, but powerful inner circle: former NBA coach and NBA champion, Phil Jackson, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, and silver Olympic medalist, Juan Carlos Navarro. Each gives a tremendous testament to not only what an incredible individual Gasol is, but also to how Gasol has impacted each of their lives. Though each touching in their own way, it was the foreword titled, “If I Could Choose My Brother,” written by Bryant, that sent goosebumps pulsing through my skin. Here are just a few excerpts from Bryant’s well-written, 23 sentence foreword:
“If I could choose my brother today, he would possess qualities that would make him a great leader: calm in the face of a storm; controlled in the throes of confusion. He would be level-headed in his actions and understanding in his judgment. Like me, he would play in the NBA.
“If his organization ever let him down, he would hold his head up high. He would come to work every day, and continue to put in his best effort. He would not lash out or let himself become entangled in drama. He would not let it change him.”
“Our bond would be fortified by a trust only brothers share.”
“I would be proud of my brother; I’d tell him to write a great book. And I would be honored to write the foreward.”
It becomes poetic when you stumble across page 184, in a chapter dedicated to Bryant where Gasol writes only these words, “He is like a brother to me.”
Through 16 chapters, there is only one chapter devoted to basketball itself, a separate chapter dedicated to his relationship with Bryant, and another section focused on his fans. Through the rest, you’ll smile though his simplicity and simultaneously, be amazed at his diversity. The words, though, are only the icing on the cake. It is the vivid photography that will have you flipping through these pages for hours on end, possibly envious of his positivity, amazed at his generosity and surprised at his normality. Spoiler alert: Pau Gasol enjoys shirtless cooking, shirtless singing in the shower, shirtless napping. Who doesn’t?
Don’t forget you can pre-order Life · Vida, by clicking here, and ALL of his proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the Gasol Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Pau and Marc Gasol to help children around the world lead healthier and more active lives.
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