Pau Gasol’s friendship with fellow Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is one of the topics touched on in Netflix’s “The Redeem Team” — a documentary about the U.S. men’s basketball team’s Olympic gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
“The Redeem Team” brings up the story of Bryant telling his teammates he would “run through Gasol’s chest” on the first play of a group stage meeting between Spain and the U.S. Bryant did what he promised once the game started, ramming into his Lakers teammate’s body as he set up a screen for Rudy Fernandez early on.
Gasol makes an appearance in the documentary, saying he understands it was Kobe’s way of saying that their friendship won’t stop him from leaving everything on the floor for Team USA. In an interview with Complex’s Kameron Hay, the Spaniard adds that, knowing Bryant and his competitiveness, the physical play from his friend and Lakers co-star didn’t come as a surprise:
“It was just to show and send a message to our team and his team that ‘hey, this is how serious this is for me. This is how I’m going to approach this and what I’m willing to do to win this.’ So I think you see how he was just a different type of player, his approach and ability to go to another level. It didn’t really surprise me to be honest, I was expecting it. And it was physical from the very beginning, you see Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, whoever had to guard me, their only message was to hit me every chance they got. So yeah, it was a message to everyone and it didn’t surprise me or catch me off guard. I took it and we moved on.”
In a recent exclusive interview, “The Redeem Team” director Jon Weinbach told Lakers Nation that Gasol was a pleasure to work with during the process of creating the documentary. Weinbach added he is “a Lakers fanatic” and a big fan of Bryant — and that he felt the responsibility to tell the five-time NBA champion’s story well after his tragic death in January 2020.
Gasol ‘humbled’ and ‘excited’ ahead of jersey retirement ceremony
Gasol has said he is “truly humbled and excited” ahead of his Lakers jersey retirement, which will take place during a matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies on March 7.
Gasol added seeing his No. 16 jersey up the rafters next to Kobe Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 will make the moment all the more special.
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