Pau Gasol recently released a unique picture book that embodies the spirit and personality of the Spanish superstar with a golden heart. Naturally, Gasol announced that he is donating his share of the sales to the Gasol Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on helping children around the world lead healthier and more active lives.
In Life • Vida, Gasol shares his life through pictures and words. Just as he uses Twitter in two languages, gives interviews in two languages, and names his book in two languages, Gasol writes a book that simultaneously exists in two languages. Ultimately, the design matches Gasol’s duel natured life (kudos to Howard Shen, the designer).
From the Lakers’ family, Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant wrote forewords for the book. Jackson’s foreword is titled “Renaissance Man,” where Jackson expresses his delight at knowing Gasol as a well-rounded person off the court. The greatest coach in basketball history shares his joy that the world can finally understand the man in the t-shirt, doctor’s scrubs, and bathing suit rather than the man in the warm ups, jersey, and suit.
Bryant’s foreword is titled “If I Could Choose My Brother.” The poignancy in Bryant’s words at the start of the book hints at the bond the two international superstars share. Bryant’s foreword is written in a unique style that is best understood when read in its entirety.
In turn, Gasol titled one of his 16 chapters “Kobe.” In that chapter, Gasol allows readers to better understand his deep friendship with Bryant.
“I know he may not need many things, but if he needs a true friend who is going to support him, he can definitely count on me,” Gasol writes about Bryant. “We have a great friendship that I hope will last our entire lives.”
“They don’t normally laugh on the court, but this was a preseason scrimmage,” Photographer Lori Shepler writes when describing a picture of Gasol and Bryant laughing on the basketball court. “Off the court, this is their friendship.”
Shepler spent four years and took 12,000 photos before selecting more than 200 pictures for the final product. She was with Gasol at the gas station, in the kitchen, at the dentist’s office, on the beach, and even in the shower. She was with him on the day he found out he was traded away from the Lakers, a trade that was eventually cancelled.
Shepler was a part of Gasol’s life and experienced the Spaniard’s ups and downs. Her presence at the vulnerable moments displays Gasol’s commitment to the book. Life • Vida provides Gasol a platform to share his life and mentality on and off the court. The book costs $25, and Gasol will be signing books at the Nike Vault store from 5:30 pm to 7:15 pm on Tuesday. It is also available at www.gasolfoundation.org .