Back on Dec. 18 the Los Angeles Lakers retired the jerseys of Kobe Bryant, raising both his nos. 8 and 24 into the Staples Center rafters. The ceremony was attended by stars across the NBA as well as plenty of Kobe’s former teammates. One who wasn’t able to attend was one of Kobe’s closest friends, Pau Gasol.
Now a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Gasol had his own game that night but did send his congratulations to Kobe on Twitter. Gasol, of course, spent 6.5 seasons with the Lakers, winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
Many would argue that he even deserved to be NBA Finals MVP in 2010 after his outstanding performance in Game 7 against the Celtics. With the Spurs set to come to Staples Center for the first time since Kobe’s jersey retirement, Gasol took to Twitter to say how proud he was to be back:
Proud to be back at #StaplesCenter tonight with these two watching me. ????
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 11, 2018
Gasol undoubtedly was one of the best teammates Kobe ever had. He averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks while being named an All-Star three times.
Whenever Gasol retires he is almost definitely a future Hall of Famer, especially when considering his international resume in addition to his time in the NBA. Another question is whether his jersey will one day be hanging up next to his teammate’s.
Considering the role he played and the performances he had, it would seem like a near certainty the familiar no. 16 jersey will one day hang in Staples Center with the rest of the Lakers greats.
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