Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol was part of a rescue the saved a refugee from the Mediterranean Sea.
The star center tweeted a picture Tuesday that showed him with non-profit Proactiva Open Arms helping a woman on stretcher. Along with the picture Gasol wrote: “Frustration, anger, and helplessness. It’s unbelievable how so many vulnerable people are abandoned to their deaths at sea. Deep admiration for these I call my teammates at this time @openarms_fund.”
“My immediate reaction was surprise because you don’t expect an NBA star to be spending his summers rescuing people from the sea, but also if there was going to be anyone doing it, it was going to be Marc Gasol,” said Geoff Calkins, columnist at The Daily Memphian and host of The Geoff Calkins Show on 92.9 ESPN.
Calkins added that writing a check to the non-profit would be great, but the image shows the cause means a lot to the Memphis Grizzlies center.
“Marc isn’t someone who seeks attention. That’s not his style, but I think he was willing to get the attention here because it shines a light on a cause that he considers to be very important,” said Calkins.
Multiple reports said Gasol and the group intercepted a call between a Libyan patrol ship and a merchant. They learned three refugees were left on a boat that was destroyed.
When they got there, they reportedly found the woman clinging to driftwood in a lifeboat filled with gasoline and salt. The report says another woman and child were also found, but they had already died.
Calkins says the news is a reminder Memphis is lucky to have someone like Marc Gasol.
“He is pure class. He thinks about basketball and very deeply cares about basketball, but he very plainly cares about the world beyond basketball,” said Calkins.
Gasol told a Spanish newspaper “El Pais” there was no specific motive for him, but the image of a Syrian boy who died on a Turkish beach in 2015 made him see that we need to keep those things from happening again.