With Zika being a major concern heading into the 2016 Summer Olympics, many athletes are choosing not to make the trip to Rio. In basketball, players like Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and John Wall have already opted out of chasing a gold medal.
But for the United States, winning a gold medal in basketball is still highly likely due to the plethora of American talent in the NBA. Perhaps that’s why other countries seem to take basketball more seriously at the summer games, especially when playing the United States.
Spanish big man and free-agent center Pau Gasol is no stranger to facing the U.S. in the Olympics, as he’s collected two silver medals after losing twice in the gold medal game to the Americans. I’m sure nothing would be better at the end of his storied career than winning gold against the United States.
So it’s highly likely Gasol will play in Rio. But he’s taking precautions in case the worst happens with the mosquito-borne virus (via ESPN.com)
“Freezing sperm is one of the measures I have to consider,” Gasol said, according to the Associated Press.
Of course, Zika has been known to cause severe birth defects. Gasol doesn’t have any children, but he’s obviously thinking about it if he wants to freeze his sperm at age 35.
It will be fascinating to see if other athletes, not just in basketball, go the same route as Gasol. You can never be too careful, and freezing sperm makes a lot of sense under the current circumstances (as long as you have money).