Los Angeles Lakers legend Pau Gasol will finally get his day of recognition on March 7 when the team will retire his No. 16 jersey during their game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Gasol’s contributions to the Lakers’ 2009 and 2010 championship teams cannot be overstated as he was the missing piece to the puzzle that put them over the top.
Even today, Gasol continues to make contributions to the Lakers organization. After attending George Mikan’s retirement ceremony on Sunday, Gasol then showed up to the Lakers’ practice on Tuesday to speak to the team.
Gasol has a strong relationship with Darvin Ham, who was an assistant with the Lakers while he was still on the team. Additionally, Gasol also knows one of the Lakers’ players in Lonnie Walker IV, who was a rookie with the San Antonio Spurs during Gasol’s final season with the team.
After practice on Tuesday, Walker spoke about what it was like to be teammates with Gasol and how the advice he received while recovering from a knee injury helped him, via the Lakers’ official YouTube account:
“That was once-in-a-lifetime. Between him and Tim [Duncan], I don’t know who I was more starstruck on based off of just their history and what they have done. But having a player like Pau around, especially when I tore my meniscus, he was on of the players that really helped me. When I was done on my confidence, this was my second time tearing my meniscus in back-to-back years, so he helped me out. He kept my confidence up, he showed me just to be patient, be ready and take it day-to-day.”
Walker also talked about what it means to be wearing the same purple and gold jersey that Gasol once wore:
“It’s funny. Coming here and being a Laker, repping what he repped back in the day, it’s great. He’s seen me when I was young, when I was a little boy pretty much just entering the league and now I’m a little bit older. This is my fifth year and he sees a lot of growth and it’s great to talk to him and hear him say that he loves what I’m doing and to continue to do what I do. It’s well-needed.”
As far as veterans go, Gasol was one of the best when it comes to sharing knowledge with young players so Walker was lucky to get the chance to be teammates with him.
Now becoming a veteran himself, Walker is taking on a bigger role with this Lakers team and has thrived to this point, taking his game to the next level in L.A.
Walker and other Lakers dress up for Halloween
After practice on Tuesday, Lakers players got their Halloween costumes on to celebrate a party at Anthony Davis’ house. Walker was among those that got dressed up, wearing a Santa Clause costume from the movie ‘Friday.’
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