NEW YORK (AP) Chicago Bulls All-Star Pau Gasol has won the Magic Johnson Award, given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to the player who best combines excellence on the court with cooperation with the media.
Gasol led the NBA with 54 double-doubles in his first season in Chicago and averaged 18.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in helping the Bulls to a 50-32 record and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a 2-0 lead over Milwaukee in their first-round series.
''I just try to be helpful. I try to help other people do their jobs well,'' Gasol said. ''I understand my position and that this is a part of our jobs. So I always try to be kind and polite even when I'm not feeling great or I might be upset because of the loss. But I understand that it's still part of my job to be one of the team's leaders and role models to stand up and share my thoughts when I need to.''
Gasol beat out finalists Stephen Curry of Golden State, LeBron James of Cleveland, Manu Ginobili of San Antonio and Damian Lillard of Portland on Wednesday.
The PBWA created the award that is named for the Lakers Hall of Famer in 2001. Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki won last year.