“It’s very strong”: this is how the displaced Girona people experienced Marc Gasol’s big night

Saturday was a dream day for Marc Gasol, who saw the shirt hanging in the pavilion of the team that consecrated him as a world star, but as I write these lines from the Fedex Forum of Memphis waiting for the ceremony to begin, it was also a day to dream for 4 other people: myself, a basketball fan and season ticket holder of Básquet Girona who comments everything he can about this wonderful sport on social networks, and the 3 colleagues of Basement 35 with whom we have come together to do this madness.

And we are not the only ones, already during the trip to Memphis on Friday the 5th we met people from Zaragoza that they came to the retirement of the shirt, and we also know of at least one other person who came from Girona; and a trip like this you only do for someone you really love a lot and who has given everything for your city, something like this can only be done for Marc Gasol.

A person who loves our city and the fans of his club so much that, knowing we were coming to Memphis, he took some time to greet us privately before the game, and not everyone does that, they took us to one of the small press rooms, he came over, shook our hands and hugged us, asked how we were and, surprisingly, he confessed that he wasn’t nervous at all, and the truth that he conveyed, he was very quiet. It was a quick conversation, but when he left the four of us looked at each other as if to say: “did this really happen?”.

I’m left with the same feeling of the last 24 hours: “it’s very strong”, is the phrase we’ve all repeated the most since Saturday; without time to stop everything that was happening: in the morning we had met with Stefi Batlle, CEO of Básquet Girona and with some journalists also coming from Catalonia, after noon we entered the Fedex Forum, accompanied by a girl who showed us all the facilities and the press areas. “It is very strong that we are here”, the phrase was repeated, all this followed by the aforementioned private meeting with Marc, the press conference of Nick Nursecurrent coach of Philadelphia and coach of the Raptors when Gasol won the ring, and Pau Gasol’s press conference, with a press room full of American media and people from all over. After each of these acts the phrase was the same: “it’s very strong”.

At 7:00 p.m. local time, 2:00 a.m. on Sunday in Girona, the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Philadelphia 76ers began, minutes before the start there was a review on the video scoreboard of Marc Gasol’s numbers in the franchise: 11 seasons, 11,684 points in 25,917 minutes and 5,942 rebounds. In the first stoppage time of the match, he was given a reception in one of the boxes, the ovation of the entire pavilion made the hair stand on end, and during all the rest of the breaks and interruptions, videos of former teammates were played, in Pau and Marc himself commenting on anecdotes.

The game ends with a 116-96 victory for Philadelphia and the Grizzlies cut a series of 3 victories, but that was the least important for Girona on Saturday, the four crazy people who were there were joined by around 30 people connected to the live from Soterrani35, some for more than 4 hours. It was time for Marc Gasol’s jersey retirement ceremony to begin in Memphis, no one will ever be able to wear 33 there again.

The players left the court and a swarm of operators came in with cameras, a stage in the middle of the court, chairs and a lot of other equipment, while the Girona people’s hearts were beating very fast and we were getting more and more excited. nervous The light in the Fedex Forum was starting to go down and the central marker was starting to show “Marc Gasol jersey retirement ceremony”.

The ceremony begins with a musical show byAl Kaponea well-known rap singer from Memphis and continued with an emotional video of the four men who created the “grit and grind”: Mike Consley, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and one by one they all go on stage.

They all sit together with the historical commentator of the Memphis and between laughter, anecdotes and commemorative videos that remember every year of Gasol there, and all this while one of the colleagues of the Soterrani could go down to the foot of the track broadcasting everything for his program; the talk ends where you can still see the complicity of these players who made history, smoke starts to come out, fireworks, columns of fire… and suddenly the 33 starts to rise with the name Gasol 2008-2019, Marc Gasol was already eternal in Memphis.

Fedex is almost empty now, but we are reluctant to leave, we want to squeeze this moment to the end, we have goosebumps, we have held back the tear and it is a day we will remember forever more, the day they retired the shirt in Marc Gasol, a day that we will always be able to talk about with pride and say: “I was there”, and all this was only possible for one of the best players in the world and an even better person: Thank you, Marc!

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2024-04-07 18:02:05
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