Pau Gasol, Spain’s basketball legend, is still unsure about his participation at August’s Olympic Games in Rio. But if he does make it to Brazil, Gasol intends to freeze his sperm as a precautionary measure due to the rampant Zika Virus.
“I can’t confirm or deny that I will be at the Games,” Gasol said in Barcelona Wednesday before adding that he would make a decision “before Spain’s Olympic team is selected”.
Last month, Russell Westbrook and James Harden withdrew from the Rio Games citing health concerns. Though neither star spoke openly about the Zika Virus, many reports indicated that the NBA stars withdrew due to rising concerns related to traveling to Brazil.
Pau Gasol encourages discussions
Unlike Harden and Westbrook, Gasol has encouraged the need to speak openly about the deadly virus. “(I hope my comments) has helped so that we can talk openly about the matter. Every day something new comes out, advances, a more in-depth analysis. A lot of sportsmen are in their most fertile stage of their lives and so it’s something which requires a great deal of thought,” said the Chicago Bulls big man.
Gasol continued: “The worries haven’t disappeared and that’s because the risks are real. It’s a big worry. A number of sportsmen and women have already decided not to go the Games because, however small the risks might be, they are still there. The situation is serious.”
The former two-time NBA champion intends to follow the lead of Great Britain long jumper Greg Rutherford, who recently froze his sperm as a precautionary measure against the zika virus. According to Gasol, “the authorities (should consider) postponing the Olympics until a later date when the Zika threat dies down.”
Gasol’s countryman, Rafael Nadal, is one of the few marquee athletes who intends to brave the Zika Virus and travel to Brazil for the Rio Games. Besides Pau Gasol, the likes of Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon are other Spanish stars actively playing in the NBA.