Pau Gasol completes UNICEF trip to Iraq

Lakers forward Pau Gasol recently completed a visit to Iraq as a UNIVEF ambassador

Lakers forward Pau Gasol recently completed a visit to Iraq as a UNIVEF ambassador

Here’s how most NBA players spend their summers.

They hang out by the beach. They hit up night clubs. They’ll sneak in some basketball in pick-up games and private workouts.

Here’s how Pau Gasol spends his summer.

He spends one of those weeks traveling to Iraq as a UNICEF ambassador.

Details of his trip weren’t immediately available. UNICEF officials and people close to Gasol kept the location secret for obvious reasons. Ever since the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, concerns over security and political factions remain. But if history serves as any indication, it’s likely Gasol helped with various humanitarian efforts.

He also traveled to South Africa (2005), Angola (2007), Ethiopia (2010) and Chad (2012). Each trip involved a specific responsibility, including feeding efforts (Chad, Ethiopia) and handing out medicine to help eradicate the HIV virus (South Africa, Angola).

Gasol’s interest in UNICEF stems from his medical school background at the University of Barcelone and his passion for helping people in need. His involvement with UNICEF as well as with Los Angeles Children’s Hospital earned him the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award in 2012.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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