There are mere days left until the Los Angeles Lakers officially retire Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey at Crypto.com Arena. Gasol’s jersey will be immortalized in Lakers lore on March 7 when the L.A. faces off against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team that drafted him.
The two-time NBA Champion with the Lakers was named an NBA Hall of Fame finalist during the All-Star break. His induction into the hall will take place in August and he will be the 29th Laker to be inducted if he makes the cut, which is expected to be the case.
It’s fitting that Gasol will be the first Laker to be inducted since Kobe Bryant, someone who developed a strong bond with the Spanish center. His relationship with Bryant’s family after his tragic death further pushed Gasol up the list of the most beloved players to ever suit up in purple and gold. His ceremony will surely bring a strong ovation from fans in attendance.
Gasol is already being showered with love as the Lakers shared a special honor from Gasol’s hometown in Spain Sant Boi:
Pau's hometown of Sant Boi honors No. 16 with a 28-foot jersey ahead of his number retirement next week 🙌#GraciasPau pic.twitter.com/ElM4svcFFS
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 3, 2023
The 28-foot jersey hangs in the city where Gasol spent the majority of his childhood in. He expressed his gratitude at the honor on Twitter, calling it spectacular.
His basketball career began at FC Barcelona where he spent three years playing. He was drafted by the Grizzlies and won Rookie of the Year. Gasol was dealt to the Lakers in 2008, a move that changed the trajectory of the franchise. His time with the Lakers will be forever remembered once his jersey is retired.
It’s been a busy last month for the Spaniard. Gasol recently spent All-Star weekend as a coach in the Rising Stars Game. He also was awarded the inaugural 2023 Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA advocacy award and Bob Lanier Community Impact award.
With his jersey retirement coming during a key matchup for the Western Conference standings, the Lakers can hope he’ll bring some good luck as they look for a win.
Rui Hachimura discusses importance of continuing to build chemistry
Key moves at the trade deadline brought new hope for the Lakers. However with so many new faces, there is a natural adjustment period, one L.A. hopes to expedite. Rui Hachimura is one of those new faces and he emphasized the importance of coming together during this crucial time.
“For sure, but it’s not easy for anybody just coming into this environment and playing together. But that’s how the NBA is,” he said. “We just gotta stick together on the court, but also off the court it’s very important to the chemistry. So we just gotta build the chemistry. It’s only been like a week, two weeks so it’s crazy. I feel like we still have, not a lot, but games left so I think chemistry will be the key to winning those games.”
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