Pau Gasol is already a legend of the Lakers. But he will be officially in March of next year. The Los Angeles team announced this Wednesday that it will withdraw his number, 16, the tribute that is paid to the great stars that go through a team. For the occasion, the club has chosen a special match, the one that will face the Lakers with the Memphis Grizzlies, the team with which they landed in the NBA and in which they also triumphed.
To justify the tribute, the Lakers remember that the Spaniard defended the team’s colors for seven seasons (between 2008 and 2014). At that stage he contributed to the Los Angeles team achieving two championship rings in two consecutive years: 2009 and 2010.
During his time with the Lakers, Gasol played three times in the All-Star game, including sharing the opening jump with his brother Marc. Before, with Memphis, he had participated three other times. Gasol was chosen to be part of the NBA’s second quintet in 2011 and the third quintet in 2009 and 2010.
“A champion, a legend, and forever part of the Lakers family. On March 7, 2023 we will upload Pau Gasol’s shirt to the rafters “, the club has tweeted. Retired shirts are placed on top of the pavilion where the team plays. Retiring a player’s number is the highest recognition that a club gives to a player who has been part of its history. Gasol will be in good company. Wilt Chamberlain (wearing number 13), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul.Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34) and Kobe Bryant (8 and 24) are among the other 10 players whose numbers have been withdrawn by Lakers throughout their history.
Gasol was selected third in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, who traded his rights to the Grizzlies. In Memphis he played six and a half seasons, becoming the most outstanding player in the franchise. Upon leaving the team, he held the records for most total points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds, total rebounds, and blocks in Grizzlies history .
In Memphis, however, his chances were limited and the winning spirit of the Spaniard asked for more. His transfer to Los Angeles was the perfect opportunity.
He debuted with the Los Angeles Lakers on February 5 against the New Jersey Nets. In his first game he had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. After the game, his new teammate Kobe Bryant declared that “Pau Gasol is incredible.” It was the beginning of a great friendship and a tandem that led the team to win the 2009 and 2010 championships. On the morning of Monday, June 15, 2009, Gasol became the first Spaniard to win the NBA ring, after defeat Orlando Magic in the fifth game of the final series. The final is decided by a global 4-1 with a great superiority of the Los Angeles team. The following year, Los Angeles again won the title.
He did not return to live such brilliant moments in the NBA as those of the Lakers. Injuries and constant team changes (he went through the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Milkwaukke Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers in just five years) played against him.
He is one of only four players in NBA history with at least 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists and 1,900 blocks during the regular season, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
In February 2021, after 18 seasons in the NBA, and after almost a year and a half without playing, he decides to return to FC Barcelona, to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, which would be his last tournament as a professional before its final withdrawal.
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Source: EL PAIS