Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol sought help from Redondo Beach police Wednesday when he became concerned about two men following him, officers said.
The men turned out to be Spanish paparazzi trying to get a photograph of the star basketball player with his girlfriend. Gasol is dating a cheerleader who, like him, is from Spain.
Gasol, who lives in Redondo Beach, told officers he saw the men following him before he got into his car. They tailed him with such tenacity that he was unsure if he was being stalked or if they were photographers, Redondo Beach police Sgt. Phil Keenan said.
Gasol called a friend in law enforcement who advised him to pull into the back of the Redondo Beach police station. Gasol stopped at the station shortly after 1 p.m. and described the car to officers.
Officers spotted the black sedan and pulled it over on Diamond Street near Catalina Avenue, just west of the police station. The occupants turned out to be credentialed paparazzi with a Spanish news agency and were allowed to leave, Keenan said.
Police escorted Gasol home.
In a brief interview, the men said they were paparazzi with a Spanish news agency. They declined to identify themselves or their agency.
"Maybe he thought we were something else," the older of the pair said. "Maybe he thought we were kidnappers."
The girlfriend, Silvia Lopez Castro, has been linked to Gasol since last summer and reportedly lives with him.