Pau Gasol hosts basketball workshop for Jewish & Arab players in Israel

Pau Gasol talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

Pau Gasol talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

The peace and harmony Pau Gasol envisions usually surrounds teamwork and his polite personality.

But this time, the Lakers forward talked about those ideals surrounding an issue far more complex and serious than his philosophical differences with Mike D’Antoni or the unsettling trade rumors. Gasol visited Israel on Sunday where led a basketball workshop for both Jewish and Arab children in hopes that it would foster better relationships amid the war-torn region.

“Sport is the best way to progress peace,” Gasol told the children. “It doesn’t matter which religion you are. With sport, everyone speaks the same language.”

This marked the first time Gasol visited Israel, but such a visit represents a fraction of his extensive traveling.

He has served as UNICEF ambassador that entailed visits to South Africa (2005), Angola (2007), Ehtiopia (2010), Chad (2012) and Iraq (2014). During those visits, Gasol assisted with various humanitarian efforts and hosted basketball clinics.

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

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