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Pau Gasol may skip Olympics because of Zika virus, suggests others may too

Gasol is concerned about Brazil's Zika problem and rightly so.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol is one of the NBA's most prominent faces representing international basketball, but he is considering not playing the 2016 Olympics due to the Zika virus scare.

Gasol said Monday that he may skip playing for the Spanish basketball team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, encouraging other athletes to "think about" the risk.

"It wouldn't surprise me to see some athletes deciding not to participate in the games to avoid putting their health and the health of their families at risk," Gasol told the Associated Press.

Gasol said he has talked to other athletes considering making the same decision for the upcoming summer Olympics. Brazil has been hit hard by Zika, which is a mosquito-borne virus linked to health problems for children and adults. Last week, the World Health Organization rejected the suggestion made by 150 healthy specialists that the games be moved or postponed.

"We need to understand the seriousness of the situation," Gasol said to the AP. "Even though there are some soothing words being said, we know that there are different opinions about the subject."

Spain has been the United States' biggest competition in Olympic basketball in the last decade, winning silver medals in 2008 and 2012 in large part due to Gasol.

Last week, Rory McIlroy said he is also considering skipping the Rio Olympics due to the Zika virus.