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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Lakers legend Pau Gasol tears up during jersey retirement

Beyond winning an NBA championship or winning an MVP award, there might be no more prestigious accolade for an NBA player to achieve than seeing their jerseys go up on the rafters of the arena they called home. Thus, it’s no surprise that Pau Gasol became awash with emotions when his number 16 jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers went up on the Crypto.com Arena rafters at halftime during the Lakers’ Tuesday night clash against the Memphis Grizzlies.

In particular, Gasol became teary eyed as he witnessed his Lakers jersey hang beside his good friend Kobe Bryant’s, immortalizing himself in Lakers lore for the rest of time.

Seeing his name go up alongside Kobe Bryant’s surely gave Pau Gasol a wide array of emotions. While Gasol will definitely be happy to etch his name alongside other Lakers greats, with his number never to be worn by another person in purple and gold once more, he will surely wish that Bryant was still alive to witness such a historic moment.

Gasol earned the distinction of being the 12th Laker to have his jersey retired (the Lakers have retired a total of 13 numbers – Bryant memorably had two of his iconic numbers retired in 2017). He joins the likes of legendary big men Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and George Mikan as some of the best ever post presences to ever suit up for the purple and gold.

2023 is shaping up to be a banner year for Pau Gasol. In addition to his jersey retirement, Gasol joins the elite company of Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, and Tony Parker as the most prominent players who will be eligible for induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. Gasol will be a definite shoo-in, as his contributions to basketball go beyond the NBA, having led the Spanish national basketball team to great heights over the years.

Pau Gasol played 18 seasons in the NBA, seven of which he spent with the Lakers. In seven seasons with the Lakers, Gasol helped them win two championships (in 2008 and 2010), averaging 17.6 points and 9.9 rebounds (regular season and playoffs combined) as Kobe Bryant’s bonafide co-star during those years.



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