Pau Gasol and Steve Blake help out at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Here's at least one consolation for Pau Gasol's drop in play in December and Steve Blake's season-wide shooting inconsistency.
At least it's not going to affect their role in helping out with Hoops for St. Jude, an initiative that contributes funding to one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers. In years past, St. Jude would receive various donations for every point that participating NBA players scored. For the 2010-2011 campaign, however, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital accepted straight $20,000 donations, according to a hospital spokesman, alleviating players' concerns that injuries, shooting streaks or defenses could determine for better or worse the amount they helped.
Gasol and Blake renewed their involvement from last year with the hospital, which recently teamed up with the NBA Cares program. The two visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis during their seven-day road trip for reasons explained in a video put together by the hospital that go beyond photo opportunities.
"It's very humbling for me," said Gasol, who attended medical school at the University of Barcelona, viewed a spinal surgery last summer and had parents volunteer at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. "I have a great attachment to medicine and great connection to medicine with my own family and it's my own passion. It's always very special to come here and get a smile out of the kids, talk to them and see how they're doing."
"You want to give back and help in any way you can," said Blake, who played for Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl, whom he remained close to when Karl was diagnosed last season with throat and neck cancer. "You want to be here for these families."
-- Mark Medina
E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org