LOS ANGELES — Pau Gasol, the right complement to Kobe Bryant, acquired the absolute best praise from his former workforce: The Los Angeles Lakers retired his jersey.
“I imply, life goes by fairly quick, proper? Within the blink of a watch, you generally is a child taking part in basketball at your college with your pals, and swiftly, you’re realizing your dream,” Gasol mentioned earlier than La Lakers’ 112-103 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night time. “However tonight, it actually exceeds any dream or expectation I’ve ever had as a result of it means a lot. And clearly with Kobe up there, it simply provides one thing significant and highly effective, unhappy and joyful, painful and joyful.”
“Are lots of issues”.
It was a full circle night time for Gasol, who was honored by the Lakers on an evening they performed the workforce that traded him to Los Angeles. His youthful brother Marc, who was a part of the commerce in the wrong way from Los Angeles to Memphis. , was there besides.
A black veil was lowered throughout a halftime ceremony, revealing Gasol’s quantity 16 positioned within the rafters immediately subsequent to Bryant’s numbers 8 and 24.
Gasol addressed the gang at heart court docket through the break between the second and third quarters, flanked by his mother and father, siblings, spouse and kids, in addition to Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ vp of operations. Lakers basketball participant and common supervisor Rob Pelinka and Vanessa Bryant. , making her first public look on Crypto.com Enviornment since her late husband’s funeral.
“I miss him a lot,” Gasol mentioned when requested about Bryant. “There’s nothing I can do about it however love his household. That’s how I deal with him.”
The Lakers reached three straight NBA Finals as quickly as Gasol arrived in February 2008, successful back-to-back championships in 2009 over the Orlando Magic and 2010 over their longtime rivals, the Boston Celtics.
“Kobe welcomes you and says, ‘Let’s go on the market and win a hoop,’” Gasol recalled. “And I’m like, ‘OK, I’m in.’”
They gained two, and Gasol used them Tuesday night time, one in every hand.
After a video tribute through the second quarter, Gasol acquired a prolonged standing ovation from the gang, patting his chest with one hand whereas supporting his 2-year-old daughter, Elisabet Gianna, with the opposite. Her daughter was named after Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, who was one of many victims of the January 2020 helicopter crash that additionally claimed the lives of her father and 7 others.
Gasol, who was the second Spaniard to play within the NBA and the primary to succeed in the Finals, was acquired by a number of teammates and countrymen from the Spanish workforce, together with José Calderón, Juan Carlos Navarro, Felipe Reyes and Juancho Hernangómez.
A number of former Lakers got here to the sport, together with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Derek Fisher, Metta Sandiford-Artest, Jordan Farmar, james worthy and longtime coach Gary Vitti. miami heats star jimmy butlerwho performed with Gasol on the Chicago Bulls, additionally attended the sport.
Phil Jackson, who coached Gasol for 4 of the six seasons he performed in Los Angeles, additionally made a uncommon look on the enviornment, watching the sport from a collection.
Jackson, Fisher, Sandiford-Artest and Sasha Vujacic additionally recorded video messages for Gasol that had been proven on the video display throughout a first-half timeout.
Gasol was the twelfth participant in franchise historical past to have his quantity honored, becoming a member of an extended line of legendary greats from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal.
“I feel the frequent thread is that I introduced one thing priceless to the workforce to assist them win,” Gasol mentioned. “I wouldn’t dare examine myself to these nice gamers. I’ve a lot respect and honor. A part of the explanation I’m there’s that I considerably helped the workforce win these championships. (If) we didn’t. If we gained these championships, we wouldn’t be sitting right here.”