The NBA will soon add another international player to the Hall of Fame as Pau Gasol announced his decision to retire from the game. He is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players in the NBA and worldwide.
Gasol had an outstanding career in the NBA as he averaged 17.0 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game, and 3.2 assists per game in 1,226 regular-season games. He played for five different NBA teams, which include the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Milwaukee Bucks.
One of the Greatest Trades in Lakers History
As the Los Angeles Lakers plan to retire number 16. He will be the franchise’s eleventh player to receive the honor, joining long-time teammate Kobe Bryant had both numbers 8 and 24 retired back in 2017.
Kobe Bryant who expressed his concerns with the Lakers’ future of putting a championship team might have never retired with the purple and gold if the trade between the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies did not take place. Bryant nearly signed with the Chicago Bulls twice and nearly got traded to the Bulls if Luol Deng was a part of the deal.
The Lakers acquired Gasol at the 2008 trade deadline for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol (Pau’s brother), Aaron McKie, and two future first-round picks. The Lakers had a heartbreaking loss as the organization came up short against the Boston Celtics in the Finals that season. However, Gasol and Bryant were able to win back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
For many years both Gasol and Bryant had a great relationship even after he signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2014. Gasol even stated that it was difficult to inform Bryant about his decision due to the foundation they built within the franchise. Even after the unfortunate passing of his teammate, Gasol has helped Kobe’s family through the tough times.
Accolades Throughout Pau Gasol’s Career
Gasol announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending his career that lasted more than two decades. Prior to joining the NBA, he won the 1998 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship and 1999 FIBA Under-19 World Championship with the Spanish junior teams
The six-time All-Star was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Memphis Grizzlies and was the first non-American player to have won that award. The two-time champ made his last
All-Star appearance with the Chicago Bulls in 2016.
The forward also had success on the world stage where he was able to receive two silver medals and a bronze medal on the Olympic stage. He also won a world championship with Team Spain. Making Team Spain For the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games signified the end of his career as the team fell short against Team USA in the quarterfinals, which marked his fifth Olympic selection.
Gasol last played for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019 and signed with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2020. He attempted to make one more comeback with the Blazers but did not play one game as he was dealing with injuries. Gasol last signed with Spanish club Barcelona.
Pau Gasol stated,
” I’m going to retire from professional basketball,”
“It’s a difficult decision after so many years, but it’s a decision that I really thought over.”
Even though Gasol is now retired, he is still involved in the sports world. Gasol won an election to represent athletes for the next seven years with the International Olympic Committee.