Lhe withdrawal of Pau Gasol had an extraordinary repercussion in the United States. In the end, it was in the NBA that he made almost his entire career, where he achieved his greatest successes at the team level and where he rose to legend status. If the Lakers, the team that he helped to be champion on two occasions, did not take long to announce that they would remove his shirt and hang it from the top of the Staples Center, later they began to increase the praise for the figure of the already former Spanish player, that is through the roof.
“It was never a question of IF we retired the number 16, but CUNDO. Congratulations on your retirement, Pau Gasol,” wrote Jeanie Buss on Twitter. Bigger words when it comes to the owner of the Lakers, the most successful franchise in NBA history alongside the Celtics. Be the sixth European player to see his jersey removed. Joining a group with the late Drazen Petrovic (Nets), Tony Parker (Spurs), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Cavaliers), Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac (Kings).
That of the Spanish pvot ascend to the roof of the Los Angeles pavilion and look next to the one of NBA myths. The list raises the hair: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy … and his friend Kobe Bryant. Before dying, the legendary Lakers guard had already paved the way for recognition: “There is no debate. Pau, when he retires, will have his Staples jersey next to mine. The truth is that he would not have won those championships. without him. The city of Los Angeles wouldn’t have those two titles without Pau. ” His word was law in the franchise and his will was carried out.
hope and talent
That feeling from Kobe that the Spaniard was necessary to win is also shared by Phil Jackson, the coach who led that team. “Pau Gasol, he brought hope and talent to the Lakers. The effect was immediate. His game put Los Angeles back in contention for the championship. He was also a gentleman and a generous hero,” he said.
Pau fell on his feet in the team since his first game, on February 5, 2008, against the Nets, with 24 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. There was an immediate connection with Kobe, who had given his approval to the reinforcement. The importance of the Spaniard in the rings was such that in the second, in 2010, he got to fight the MVP of the final against his friend thanks to his averages of 18.6 points and 11.6 rebounds.
In his career in the Lakers he accumulated 429 games, 7,610 points, 4,240 rebounds, 1,508 assists and 607 blocks. In between, he inspired some of the current stars, such as Russell Westbrook, NBA MVP in 2017 and recent signing of the Los Angeles franchise. “He was my favorite player. I liked the way he played. He was a big man who could pass, shoot, score … I always looked at him, he always played the right way,” he confessed when asked about Pau’s withdrawal.
The Spanish also awaits the Hall of Fame, although five years must pass after his retirement to be eligible. His career has deserved a place in the pantheon of illustrious men in basketball. It could be the international representative that enters each year, as in the recent class of 2021 was Toni Kukoc, who was his youth idol.