Lakers News: Pau Gasol Includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James In List Of 10 Greatest Players
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lakers
Andrew D. Bernstein-NBAE

Pau Gasol joined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, joining the ranks of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. Gasol’s contributions saw him collect six All-Star appearances, four All-NBA selections and two NBA championships with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now that his career is all said and done with a Hall of Fame induction as the cherry on top, he can begin reflecting on his place in NBA history. Ahead of the induction ceremony, Gasol was asked to list his 10 greatest players of all time, a common question to ask of the game’s all-time greats.

In Gasol fashion, he spoke about the subjectivity of questions like these before answering with an unranked top 10 that includes 11 players, via Broderick Turner of The L.A. Times:

Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Stephen Curry.

Yes, that’s 11, Gasol was told. He just shrugged and smiled.

Gasol’s list includes four Lakers — Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bryant and LeBron James — with many of the typical subjects in a top 10, including Tim Duncan, Larry Bird, Bill Russell and of course Michael Jordan.

Stephen Curry has recently become a popular pick to enter the 10 greatest players of all time, and Gasol certainly seems to agree with that trend. The two more interesting picks are Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki, two of the other dominant power forwards of the 2000’s alongside Gasol.

Gasol spoke about the trio of Duncan, Nowitzki and Garnett and why they all had to make his list:

“They were my three top players at power forwards that I used to model my game to theirs and try to beat them to become one of the better power forwards in the league,” Gasol said. “Those were references when I played throughout my years. So, they are very special. And Dirk is probably on that list because also of being international, the way he changed the game is very unique and I think it’s meaningful and that’s impactful for European and international players.”

Gasol’s top 10 is a pretty strong reflection of who he is as a player. It includes many of the usual suspects but also gave Gasol a chance to show respect for players who helped mold his game. He’s always been more than willing to praise those around him before himself.

Now, Gasol enters a Hall of Fame that either already includes or will most certainly include each and every one of the players on his list.

Phil Jackson initially hesitated to trade for Gasol

When the opportunity first presented itself for the Lakers to trade for Gasol, head coach Phil Jackson was reluctant due to some of the defensive drawbacks he felt Gasol had. But having Andrew Bynum in the post eventually convinced him to make the deal and Gasol flourished to the tune of two NBA titles.

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