Lakers News: Pau Gasol Admits It’s Tough To Get Jersey Retired Without Kobe Bryant Present
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lakers
Andrew D. Bernstein-NBAE

On Tuesday, March 7, the Los Angeles Lakers will add the latest legend to the rafters of the Crypto.com Arena when they retire the No. 16 jersey of Pau Gasol. The Lakers have a long line of legendary big men and Gasol joining the franchise in 2008 changed the fortunes of the franchise as he would team with Kobe Bryant to win back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010.

But Gasol and Kobe were more than just teammates. They formed a bond and brotherhood that went well beyond the basketball court as the two were extremely close. There were obviously so many who took Kobe’s tragic death extremely hard and Gasol has been very open about how much it affected him.

And now with his jersey set to be alongside Kobe’s in the rafters, Gasol got emotional when thinking about how pivotal his brother was in this accomplishment taking place, adding that it’s tough not having him here for this moment, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

“It’s impossible [to separate],” Gasol said, wiping away tears on that night in late January. “It’s inevitable. I don’t know how. … My number goes up there, in big reason, because of him.

“And also how he made me better, how he made us better, how he led us in those runs and the effect that he had. And then obviously not having him here with us, it’s tough.”

From a basketball standpoint, it can not be denied the positive effect Bryant had on Gasol. Kobe was able to push his buttons and really bring the best out of him and without that, the Lakers simply do not win those championships and Gasol’s number is likely not being risen in the rafters.

As such, it is completely understandable for Gasol to have these emotions come up on the brink of this honor. He and Kobe are inseparable when it comes to their time together with the Lakers franchise and it will be the case once again when his jersey sits right next to Kobe’s. Although Bryant will not be there, his family surely will as they remain close to Gasol’s family to this day.

Lakers legend Pau Gasol honored by hometown ahead of jersey retirement

But before Gasol could have his jersey raised by the Lakers, the Spanish big man was honored by his hometown of Sant Boi.

A 28-foot purple and gold No. 16 jersey is hanging in the city in which he spent his childhood with Gasol himself calling the honor spectacular on social media. Soon, a much smaller but no less important jersey will hang as well.

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