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Pau Gasol's hamstring: An alternate theory

November 12, 2009 |  8:02 am
Everyone's trying to figure out when Pau Gasol will finally be able to suit up after a hamstring injury that's Pau Gasol at an eventsidelined him since the preseason.  BK's practice report from Wednesday mentioned caveats like "consecutive pain-free days on the treadmill before resuming practice".  Phil Jackson threw around "Christmas" as a lark, not aware... well... fully aware the media would roll with it like Steve Winwood and his dry aside would require clarification.  Tea leaves sales have jumped 300% in November, as folks seek any and all means to determine an ETA.  Pau Gasol.  Pau Gasol.  Pau Gasol.  He's all everyone can talk about now.  Which got me thinking.

Maybe that's just the way he wants it. 

If I may, another potential explanation: Marketing.

What better way to ramp up buzz for his appearance on an episode of CSI: Miami, which airs November 16th?   

Sure, the world is clamoring as it is to see El Spaniard sink his dientes into the role of "Victor Emparo," a video game mogul/ person of interest in a car crash investigation.  The show's a hit.  Pau Gasol is an athlete with an international following, particularly among Rolling Stone readers.   But think about what it takes to command the entertainment and pop culture spotlight these days, even for a Laker. 

Scratch that.  Especially for a Laker

Kobe Bryant is plastered all over televisions, whether watched by kids, adults and couch potatoesLamar Odom will undoubtedly be making appearances on a reality show- given how it stars his wife and all- when he's not busy hawking threads.  Ron Artest stars in a new Internet video approximately every fifteen minutes and is a Twitter sensation.  Jordan Farmar, Gasol's former co-star on NUMB3RS, recently appeared in a second episode.   Luke Walton is a strong actor when matched opposite horrible soap stars.  Playmates enjoy Csi-miami-dead-to-me sitting on Andrew Bynum's shouldersSasha Vujacic landed Maria SharapovaDerek Fisher not only crashes Kobe's talk show appearances, but has a book on shelves.  Even DJ Mbenga has a publicist, so he's probably hatching something.

For Pau to grab a slice of that coveted attention, even while backed by the power of The Eye, drastic measures are in order.  If anything, he probably hasn't gone far enough.  Were I Gasol, a full court press would be employed. 

Internet rumors floated about an exact return date revealed during Monday's episode in shrouded, coded form.  Episode promos would play up Gasol's absence from the court.  (You won't be able to see Pau Gasol on the court anytime soon.  But you will see him on CSI: Miami!!!)  They could even crank out some last minute rewrites, scrap the "Victor Emparo" character altogether, and work Pau's hammy into the new plot.  Here's a scene between Gasol and Horatio Caine (David Caruso) with "Emmy" written all over it. 

                                                                    Pau Gasol
                    Caine, I need your help to discover why my hamstring is slow to heal.

                                                                    Horatio Caine
                                                        (Pause.  Puts on his sunglasses)
                    Only a matter of time before your absence leaves the Lakers hamstrung.


Think about it.  A "mysterious" injury, as Phil Jackson rather conveniently phrased it.  (Between that particular lingo and the hoohah he caused with the "Christmas" remark, maybe PJ's working with Gasol in his Nielsen quest.)  A television show that centers around mystery.  Kismet, baby!  Show biz!  And should Pau happen to heal up shortly after November 16th, I'm just sayin'...

But FYI to Pau, should he land a third acting gig down the road.  Another method for drumming up publicity will be necessary.  We the viewing public... wait for it... won't get fooled again.


Photo: Pau Gasol at an event.  Credit: Photo Agency