The Los Angeles Lakers have retired the jerseys of some of the greatest basketball players to have ever lived.
Names like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and more are on display in the rafters of the Staples Center with their numbers ineligible to be worn by any future Laker.
When the time comes and his playing career is over, should Pau Gasol be among them?
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Show, they discuss the merits of retiring Gasol’s No. 16. He helped the Lakers win two straight championships in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 NBA seasons while being selected to the All-Star team in three of his six and a half seasons in purple and gold. While Bryant may have been the face of the team, Gasol accepted second billing and did what was necessary to win. There were games where it was Gasol — not Bryant — who powered the Lakers to wins but that wasn’t the norm.
Is it fair to include Gasol, who was the Robin to Bryant’s Batman? Or should the rafters be reserved for the top player on the team during successful eras? Should being selected for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame be a prerequisite, which Gasol likely will thanks in part to his international contributions? They dig into the issue in an attempt to determine what the requirements should be for a player to have their number retired by a team as successful as the Lakers.
Plus, with the 2019-20 season still suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), they discuss what the eventual return of sports will look like. A recent report suggests that there is some optimism the league will be able to salvage their season, which is especially important to the Lakers, who currently sit atop the Western Conference and have a real shot at winning the 2020 NBA Finals.
What would players have to go through in order for the NBA to get back up and running? Is the risk worth the potential reward? And what kind of impact would sports coming back have on a country that could use some good news?
They also dig into a hypothetical trade from their live chat for Chris Paul and a new development in the G League that could result in some of the best young players skipping college to instead prepare for their NBA careers.