Barely a year and a half after his retirement, Pau Gasol will experience one of his most unforgettable days in the NBA. He will no longer do it as a player. He will do it as one of the references in the history of the club. The lakers They will retire the number 16 that he used while he was on the Californian squad, at halftime in the game against the Memphis Grizzlies, his first team when he reached the League (4:00 am, #Vamos). As of this March 7, he will shine on the roof of the Crypto.com Arena (the old Staples Center) next to a dozen names that are part of sports history, among others, those of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, kobe bryantWilt Chamberlain or Shaquille O’Neal. “That the Lakers retire my jersey is something very special, that I don’t know how to calibrate or process its dimension,” he says. pau42 years old, overwhelmed for the moment.
It will be a day of emotions, of very intense sensations, as he acknowledged in the interview he gave to El Periódico this week. For that reason he will do it surrounded by his family, his parents, his wife cat mcdonell and his sons, Elizabeth and Maxof friends like Tow either Juan Carlos Navarro, current general manager of Barça, of some of the legends of Spanish basketball, such as Philip ReyesRaúl López, Jorge Garbajosa or Jose Manuel Calderon and also from the familyand Kobe Bryant, with whom he has maintained a very special bond after his death and who was one of the first to publicly request it.
“There is no debate. When Pau retires, his name will be on the roof of the pavilion next to mine,” he said at the time. kobean initiative that the president of the lakers, Jeannie BussIt didn’t take long to pick up.
With two championship rings and three finals in his seven seasons with the purple and gold colors of the Lakers, the act that will live Pau Gasol It is a way to value his career in the NBA. “It is a pride for our basketball. That Pau’s shirt is at the top of such an emblematic stadium means that we are all represented, in a very small part”, he assured Jorge Garbajosathe president of the FEB.
It is impossible to understand Spanish basketball in this 21st century without the influence of Pau Gasol, the trailblazer who flung open the doors of the NBA and who led a generation to compete fearlessly and rise to the top of the game. Pau was also part of a unique generation of foreign stars in the American League, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Yao Ming that changed the perception that existed until then about international players. Now, with the withdrawal of his shirt, his name will become an indelible part of the history of one of the legendary teams.