On Friday, a country will be cheering for the Los Angeles Lakers, particularly Pau Gasol. No, that country is not Spain; it is the Philippines. Gasol is giving fans around the world one more reason to root for him by pledging $1,000 for every point he scores during Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors to the relief effort in the Philippines.
The Lakers’ leading rebounder is averaging a career-low 13.0 points per game, but a large segment of Lakers fans in Asia will be hoping for a 40-point outing from the socially conscious basketball player.
Gasol’s season-high is 25 points, and supporters of the purple and gold would be ecstatic if he repeated that effort on Friday. When these teams met earlier in the season, the Spaniard only managed 12 points, but he only played 23 minutes on that occasion. The Lakers were on the second night of a back-to-back and the game was a blowout loss for LA. Although the Warriors are off to a hot start, most expect a rested Gasol to perform better.
Gasol has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2003, and he has consistently used his time off the court to help those in need. Gasol announced his donations will go to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Back in 2011, Gasol took a similar action when he donated $1,000 per point to help tsunami victims in Japan. That time around, Gasol scored 26 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, so $26,000 exited Gasol’s bank account and arrived at needy victims.
As an organization, the Los Angeles Lakers have already donated $150,000 to the Philippine Red Cross. Considering the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, every dollar counts. Gasol has also asked fans to join him by “pledging $1, $5, $10, $20, or however much” they can afford for every point he scores on Friday.
Conceivably, even some Warriors fans will hope Gasol has a big game. After all, Friday night is about far more than a single game of basketball.