SHANGHAI (AP) — Marc Gasol is 34 years old, which means he’s particularly fond of offseasons.

He didn’t get much of one this year.

There’s a very good reason for that — a most unusual and, he thinks, worthwhile opportunity. After helping the Toronto Raptors win the NBA championship in June, Gasol is now looking to lead Spain to a World Cup title in September. And although the 7-foot-1 veteran center’s body may have preferred some more downtime before the grind of another season begins, Gasol could not pass up this chance.

“It’s a special group of guys,” Gasol said. “It’s always special when you put on this jersey. And I couldn’t leave them

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