Lakers forward Pau Gasol watches the Kings win Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (From Pau Gasol's Twitter…)
With the Lakers' early playoff exit suddenly giving him some extra free time, Pau Gasol has picked up a new hobby.
He's now a hockey fan.
Considering the Kings are on the verge of winning their first Stanley Cup, Gasol's among one of the many Angelenos hopping on the bandwagon. Gasol, his brother, Marc, of the Memphis Grizzlies and their father, Agusti, attended their first live game when they watched the Kings' 4-0 Game 3 Stanley Cup win Monday over the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center.
"I watched the playoffs," Gasol said at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, where he accepted the inaugural Kia Community Assist Award. "I got into it a little more. But ice hockey is not a huge sport in Spain."
Doesn't his native country boast one of the sports' powerhouses?
"I don't even think there is a league," Gasol deadpanned.
Don't consider Gasol a die-hard fan just yet.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is selling two of his tickets to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, with the proceeds benefiting the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation's Youth Homelessness Initiative. Gasol joked he wouldn't bid because they're too expensive.
Even with the Kings having a chance to clinch the Cup on Wednesday, Gasol will already be out of town. He plans to leave for Spain on Tuesday to begin preparing for the London Olympics, which go from July 27 to Aug. 12.
And hours before attending his first hockey game, Gasol acknowledged he hasn't exactly mastered the NHL rulebook yet.
"I'm not trying to get into what the rule means or what just happened," Gasol said. "Just enjoy the game and have a good time."
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