Surrounded by the main national media and those closest to him on a personal and sporting level, Pau Gasol has announced his retirement from professional basketball at the age of 41 and after 23 years of career. The pivot made his decision official after exposing the difficult path he has traveled in recent years due to his foot injury, which ends as a FC Barcelona player in which he made his debut at 18 years of age. In his short stay with the Barça club, he has managed to lift the club’s first league in seven years.
Although he has already made it public more than once, Pau stressed that his intention to play again was to represent the Spanish team in Tokyo 2020. But there was also another great reason. «I am a person of challenges and I wanted to fight for the improbable. I had the illusion of one day being able to play in front of my little girl. Elisabet Gianna, his one-year-old daughter, had not seen her father play. The former player also made it clear that the priority of his recovery was to be able to lead a normal life after his retirement. “I didn’t want to crawl or on crutches.”
After the words with which he announced his future and a long applause, Pau began with the thanks. First to the press, then to the fans and finally to all the great figures who have guided his path. To Aito García Reneses, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and the rest of the technicians. To his brother Marc, Juan Carlos Navarro and Kobe Bryant, arriving with the mention of the latter to the most tearful point of the evening. «I wish my friend Kobe Bryant had been here but … life is like that. Sometimes it is very unfair. The oldest of the Gasols closed his thanks by personally addressing his wife and daughter for being “the most important part of my life.”
He ended his speech anticipating his plans for the future, which include his presence on the Olympic Committee and the social causes with which he has been actively working for almost two decades.
Pau Gasol retires from basketball having been a two-time NBA champion, winning five titles with FC Barcelona and eleven medals with the Spanish team, highlighting the 2006 Mundobasket and the two silver medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. In addition, was chosen six times in the All-Star and second greater European scorer in the history of the league. A career full of successes that, even so, are far from explaining the figure of the best Spanish basketball player in history. “Nothing is important or relevant if you are not part of a group.”
(Cover photo by David Ramos / Getty Images)