(CNN) — Pau Gasol is a seasoned and accomplished basketball player, both in the NBA and in his native Spain. His list of accolades is almost as long as he is tall — two NBA championships, two silver Olympic medals, NBA Rookie of the Year, to name a few.
But the Los Angeles Laker finds success isn’t measured solely by his performance on the hardwood. He maintains a wider perspective on his role off the court and just what his duties should be.
“I don’t like to use the term celebrity, but people that are known have a responsibility because you have the potential of impacting people’s lives,” Gasol says. “And regardless of what you do or you don’t do, you are a role model. People look up to you. They pay attention to your actions, so it’s up to you whether you want those actions to have a positive impact or a negative impact.”
Early in his career, Gasol reached out and became a UNICEF ambassador in 2003.
“I wanted to be a good role model for the children that look up to me and make a difference in society beyond my own needs and accomplishment,” he says.
Over the past decade Gasol has dedicated much of his time off court to his role as ambassador. Most recently he helped respond to the immense need for aid in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck in November. Gasol knows the people of the Philippines will need assistance for a long time.
To inspire others to donate to UNICEF’s efforts in the region, Gasol pledged to donate $1,000 for every point he scored in a game against the Golden State Warriors shortly after the typhoon hit. He also took to Twitter and Facebook to encourage fans to join in and pledge for each point he scored.
Continue Reading… (CNN.com)