The Los Angeles Lakers will be holding another jersey retirement ceremony during the 2022-23 NBA season, celebrating the career of the great No. 16, Pau Gasol.
Gasol is yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but the Lakers decided to go ahead and send the Spaniard’s jersey up to the rafters before he gets to put the Naismith Orange blazer on in Springfield, Mass. The 42-year-old will be honored on March 7, the day the Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies — Gasol’s first NBA team.
After L.A. confirmed it would retire the six-time All-Star’s number next season, Gasol expressed his gratitude on Twitter:
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) August 17, 2022
March 7, 2023 ⏳💜💛 @Lakers
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) August 18, 2022
No Laker has played in No. 16 on the back since Gasol left the team in 2014. Only John Salley has worn the jersey besides the Spanish big man while with the franchise since it moved to L.A. in the 1960s.
Gasol retired in 2021 having returned to FC Barcelona — the forward’s hometown team and one he started his career with. He debuted in the NBA in 2001 after the Atlanta Hawks drafted him with the third overall pick before trading his draft rights to Memphis for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
He won the Rookie of the Year award that season, becoming the first foreign player to claim the title. The Lakers traded for the forward in 2008, sending draft rights of his brother, Marc, among other players to Memphis.
Gasol spent six years with the Purple and Gold, winning back-to-back NBA championships alongside Kobe Bryant in 2009 and 2010.
Tough start to 2022-23 season awaits Lakers
The Lakers announced Gasol’s jersey retirement ceremony around the time the NBA released the full 2022-23 schedule — which indicates a tough start to the season for L.A.
The Purple and Gold face the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night before hosting the L.A. Clippers on Oct. 20. In the following days, they will match up with strong Western Conference rivals, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans.
Another tough schedule run comes in December when the Lakers will lock horns with Eastern Conference powerhouses on their longest road trip of the season.
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