MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Back in the day at Lausanne collegiate school, a younger, portlier version of Marc Gasol never dreamed he'd be a professional basketball player.
"Not in my wildest dreams would you think I would be a starting All-Star," said Gasol. "I never thought I 'd be playing in the NBA."
Not only is the 7-foot-1 Gasol firmly in the NBA, he's arguably the best center in the league, a legitimate MVP candidate, and now an All-Star starter. Gasol is averaging a career high 19.3 points per game, along with 8.2 rebounds per game as the Grizzlies' top option.
"At some point you can't believe what's going on, how much it means to represent the city, and the franchise," said Gasol. "My family also will be there, and with the whole country behind you, and the community behind you it's a pretty cool feeling."
Gasol is the first All-Star starter in Grizzlies franchise history.
"A lot of the fan base that we have is really strong and voted relentlessly and every day," said Gasol. "Those are fans that really stand behind you."
Another first will come at the tip off, when Gasol faces off against another Gasol. His older brother Pau is also voted in as an All-Star starter after a resurgent year in Chicago, and it's the first time in NBA history brothers are both All-Star starters.
"The jump ball will be unbelievable, we went back from playing each other in the backyard of my grandmother's house to do it in the All-Star game," said Marc Gasol.
"I'm really happy for their family, what a great jump ball that's going to be," said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. "I don't know if that's ever happened, or ever will happen again."
Pau Gasol was so excited about playing in the All-Star game with his brother that he let loose a string of adjectives -
"It's unbelievable, unreal, hard to believe, it's hard to digest, it's overwhelming, it's incredible, it's amazing."
And from there, the players thank the fans who voted for the first family of Spanish basketball
"I'm very thankful to everyone who has voted for us and thankful to the many people who helped us be the players that we are," said Pau Gasol.
"Thank you for giving me the chance to represent them, honestly that's the biggest thing for me," said Marc.
It's a pretty good accomplishment for the throw-in second round pick at the end of the Pau Gasol deal back in 2008, NBA All Star Weekend starts February 13th. The All-Star Game is Sunday, February 15th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.