MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Summer is officially over and it’s time to get back to work for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Media Day Monday at FedExForum welcomes back the Teams' NBA Stars, like Mike Conley, who spent his summer rehabbing a surgically repaired heel.
Veteran center Marc Gasol spent some time in the water, but not like you might think.
Gasol hit the high seas of the southern Mediterranean looking for refugees who use any means necessary to try and escape to a better life.
“You don’t think about yourself when you’re out there. When you see somebody in such tragic situation, in such desperate condition you don’t thing about your own feelings. You’ve just trying save a life, which we are thankful we were able to do. And you’re witnessing a situation that’s happening daily in the central Mediterranean. And seeing how Humans deal with other Humans, which is really frustrating,” Gasol said
He volunteered with NGO Open Arms Proactiva, an International Organization dedicated to finding survivors at sea.
They found many migrants clinging to flimsy dingys or just plain pieces of wood about 90 miles off the coast of Libya.
Gasol saw at least three dead bodies in the water, including that of a 3 year old child
“My daughter was a year old at the time, and I had to question as a father what would I have to go through to risk the most precious thing in the world, my kids lives,” he said.
Gasol and his brother Pau, a former Grizzly, run their family charity, the Gasol Foundation which funds relief efforts for the world's poorest children.
Marc is used to putting up big numbers on the court, but upon learning that more than 1,440 refugees died trying to cross the southern Mediterranean, he decided he had to get more deeply involved.
"I told them I wanted to be involved.I want to be a part of it, to really be a part of it and go through the whole volunteer."
Now back in Memphis, Gasol says he’s ready to get back to basketball, but he’ll never forget what he did with his summer vacation.