Pau Gasol is often criticized for being soft, but the Spanish forward says he's ready to flex his muscles and show some toughness at the Olympics.
"I'm a beast," Gasol told Reuters on Thursday. "Yeah, I feel pretty good. I feel strong."
Gasol was the flag bearer for Spain during the opening ceremony in London on Friday. He led his team with 19 points in 100-78 exhibition game loss to the US on Tuesday and is looking forward to redemption against the US after losing the gold medal game at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Gasol will be a more integral part of the Spanish team than he is with the Lakers.
"My role is definitely different here," he said. "I'm the guy that everybody counts on and everything kind of revolves around my play and I take a lot of pride in leading this team in different ways.
"It's not about just scoring. I've been a part of this team for 11 years now. My role is definitely different than what it is with the Lakers."
Pau will need to be in beast mode to have Spain contend for the gold medal, especially after the motivation his brother provided the US with his disparaging comments earlier in the week.
Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP