One person who has continued to keep the legacy and memories of Kobe Bryant alive is his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol. The big man, who won a pair of championships with Kobe, was also one of his closest friends, and when his first daughter was born, Gasol gave her the middle name of Gianna in honor of Bryant’s daughter, who also tragically passed away in the plane crash.
Though Gasol is no longer in the NBA, he has still been playing basketball, helping lead FC Barcelona win the La Liga Championship and is now playing in the Tokyo Olympics for his native Spain. But in order to get to this point, Gasol had to persevere through a stress fracture in his foot and the rehab that came along.
In order to do so, Gasol channeled his memories of Bryant and the discipline he had as a continued source of inspiration and motivation, as he revealed in an interview with Mark Medina of USA Today:
“I kept him in mind a lot of the days to say hey, ‘Kobe would be pushing himself,’” Gasol told USA TODAY Sports. “Kobe would not be taking this workout easy or not skipping anything. He would be really disciplined, trusting and being committed to the work. He’s always a big presence with me. He’s always going to be an inspiration and motivation in my life.”
Gasol continued on about witnessing how Kobe pushed through his injuries and how relentless he was in his rehab:
“He really pushed himself to the limit,” Gasol said. “He pushed through a lot of injuries and a lot of pain and discomfort. He was relentless and very disciplined on his rehab and his recovery. During my recovery, I always had him present.”
The ‘Mamba Mentality’ is something that everyone quotes and speaks about, and the reason it is so popular is that it can be applied to anything in any walk of life. It doesn’t have to be just sports or on-court performance, it can be about staying disciplined and persevering through tough times such as Pau with his injury rehab.
Gasol continues to be one of the best human beings around and a true representation of the impact Kobe had on so many people. Kobe’s toughness and passion were some of his best qualities and Gasol has used that to help himself continue to accomplish his goals.
Marc & Pau Gasol playing for Spain in Tokyo Olympics
After winning the La Liga Championship, Pau is being joined by his brother and Lakers center Marc Gasol on the Spanish National Basketball team for the Olympics in Tokyo. The team has a number of current and former NBA players on the roster including Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, and Juancho Hernangomez.
Considering the age of both Pau and Marc, it will likely be their final Olympic appearance, but for Pau, just getting to this point wasn’t guaranteed and it was his channeling of the late, great Kobe Bryant that helped push him through.
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