In 6.5 seasons together, Gasol and Bryant won back-to-back championships in three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and became brothers.
As it has been a little over three months since Bryant’s passing, it has been difficult for everyone involved, especially for his teammate and brother.
While reflecting on their time together, Gasol revealed Bryant used to call him ‘Pablo’ and explained the meaning behind the nickname, according to Marca:
“Kobe called me Pablo … Kobe always tried to get my inner fire out and he called me Pablo because of Pablo Escobar.”
As Gasol overcame his ‘soft’ label in the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, the nickname was to help him be aggressive on the basketball court:
“Not because he was a drug trafficker, but because of that murderous instinct … To [help me] get that aggressiveness, he compared me to him.”
With the 10-year anniversary of their last championship together near, it is very bittersweet to rewatch Game 7 but Gasol certainly redeemed himself.
With Bryant struggling with his shooting, Gasol finished with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks along with a clutch basket over three Celtics.
Although the loss of Bryant is still difficult to process, these type of stories from his former teammates and competitors help continue his legacy.