The Los Angeles Lakers group that won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 was a special one led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
Bryant and Gasol had a very strong relationship while they were playing and that continued all the way up until the day the former was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in 2020.
Like everybody else, Gasol was devastated to lose his Kobe and his daughter Gigi, although their legacy continues to live on.
This weekend is a special one for Gasol as he is in attendance at NBA All-Star Weekend in Utah. Gasol coached one of the Rising Stars teams to victory on Friday night just hours after it was announced that he is a finalist for the 2023 Hall of Fame class.
Gasol will also soon have his Lakers uniform retired with the No. 16 going up into the rafters next to Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 on March 7.
With all of this happening at once, Gasol couldn’t help but think about Kobe and Gigi and the impact they continue to have on him to this day, via Eurohoops TV:
“Every step of the way, he’s on my mind, in my heart along with Gigi. And he’s going to be there forever. I grew as a player, I played at a high-level thanks to him, in great part. Obviously Phil [Jackson] and the rest of the teammates, the rest of the staff, I had to put something for my part, but his leadership, his example, his approach really elevated my game and made me a better player. We don’t get those championships, my name and my number don’t go in the rafters, we don’t win those championships without Kobe Bryant being one of the best players on the floor, in history. So again, he will always be with me, in every moment, not just basketball recognitions, but personally too. His family is my family. We will continue to go forward thinking that he is watching. He’s definitely part of those moments.”
Gasol was not only a great basketball player but perhaps an even better human as he continues to show on a daily basis. He and his family have remained close with Vanessa Bryant and Kobe’s family since the tragic events in 2020, giving the Bryant children an uncle and godfather.
There’s no doubt that March 7 will be an emotional night at Crypto.com Arena, and the same can be said when Gasol gets inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer.
James’ foot feeling good going into break
As far as the current Lakers go, they will be looking to make a run out of the All-Star break to get back in playoff contention and a big key to that will be the health of LeBron James.
James has been dealing with a foot issue but says he feels good going into the break and will be able to benefit from the time off, which is a great sign for L.A.
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