The Other Moment Heard Around The World
I've always loved the phrase "Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it." The annals of history are full of examples of human beings being challenged to reveal their true definitions of character to the world. Sometimes it even happens in such trivial pursuits as the final moment of a do-or-die Game 7 winner-take-all basketball game.
Watch the clip below with Kawhi Leonard sealing the fate of the Philadelphia 76ers with help of four Raptors and a big assist from gravity. I'll give you a minute...
Now watch it again and focus on center Marc Gasol, #33 for the Raptors. He starts by inbounding the ball to Leonard and then heads to the paint for a potential quick rebound or tip-in. In all reality Gasol - and every other player on the floor in that moment - is simply there as a front row witness to some incredible NBA history.
Following the shot everyone in Toronto white - and I mean everybody - rushes to Kawhi to bask in the moment. Except Marc Gasol. He first stares out in amazement trying to take this moment in, then looks skyward with his arms raised in victory but then character kicks in. Marc Gasol character.
Gasol starts to walk towards the corner opposite his delirious teammates and half of the Toronto faithful. He continues past the Raptor mascot - whatever it is they call that thing - and finds 76er big man Joel Embiid. Embiid is on the opposite side of the mountain and understandably crushed. Defeated in the most heartbreaking way possible. The vanquished, the beaten. Embiid is the loser.
But here is where that proverbial proof of character comes in. Gasol, even before going to join his teammates in a celebration of the victory, embraces Embiid. After one of the most epic and dramatic endings to a sporting event ever, Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptor center hugs his distraught opponent. His humanity, above all else, on display for the world to see, burning the brightest.
True character revealed.