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Pau Gasol, the quest for excellence


Published in

El Norte de Castilla

Gerardo Castillo

Professor School of Education and Psychology

The Los Angeles Lakers, the most awarded franchise in NBA history, has announced that it will retire the issue 16 as a permanent tribute to Pau Gasol, who played six seasons with the team and won two rings. The date of the retirement ceremony of the issue will be March 7, 2023, during a game against the Grizzlies, another of the Spaniard's NBA teams. It will be the crowning of a hard-working and successful degree program of 41 years in search of excellence. The Latin locution Finis coronat opus (the end crowns the work) is applicable to him, all praise to the well finished work .

Excellence is the superior quality or goodness that makes a thing or person worthy of esteem. The Greeks of classical antiquity referred to excellence with the term areté, which Aristotle considered a virtue. In his first year away from the courts, Pau has stated that he misses the adrenaline of competition, but instead enjoys spending more time with his family. For him, "family is everything".

In today's society, excellence is in crisis. Conformism hinders the aspiration for excellence. A proactive attitude leads us to excellence, while resignation leads us to mediocrity. For Carlos Llano, excellence is currently a word out of context, because the context of excellence is discipline and effort. He adds that it is not a state in which someone is, but a dynamic status derived from continuous self-improvement. It consists in the continuous increase of the quality of one's actions in small things that belong above all to the usual work .

Since he was a child, Pau showed an eagerness to excel and a fighting spirit to be the best, both at programs of study and in sports. He had a dream: to excel in basketball internship until he reached the NBA. Agusti and Marisa, his parents, shared that dream and supported him until the end.

In 1999 he made his debut with Barcelona in the ACB League at the age of 18. In the 2000-2001 season he won the trophy for the best player of that league. The brilliant track record he had for his age aroused the interest of NBA scouts, and he was hired. On June 27, 2001, he joined the Atlanta Hawks NBA team; that day, in New York's Madison Square Garden, accompanied by his excited parents, he heard the NBA Commissioner pronounce his name after those of some of the great stars of that prestigious League. Pau had just achieved the great dream of his childhood, after making a great effort to adapt to another country and another league of a much higher level, far away from his family and friends. The pressure to which he was subjected playing with the great figures of the NBA was enormous. He overcame it with his quality, courage and self-confidence.

There is a research that focuses on the process of becoming excellent in sport through a unique case study . Using the biographical method, three major dimensions (sporting, social and staff) of the protagonist have been analyzed. The results are collected in a book: "The process of becoming excellent in sport: the case of Pau Gasol" (Collado, J.A. and Sánchez, M.). One of the conclusions is that, in order to achieve excellence in sport, intrinsic motivation and achievement motivation are very important, by posing challenges, overcoming difficulties and learning from mistakes.

A good Education should seek excellence as a priority goal , which is manifested more in the quality of the process than in the results themselves. If the Education is limited to certain minimums, it settles in mediocrity. For the Education to be of quality and, therefore, to pursue excellence, it is necessary that it is not egalitarian, but equitable. This means obtaining the maximum from each learner, according to his or her capacity staff. This is the message of the personalized Education .