Although he has not played for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2014, Pau Gasol is still beloved in the city for his contributions during his time with the team.
Alongside Kobe Bryant, Gasol helped lead the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals, winning it all in 2009 and 2010. As a member of the Purple and Gold, Gasol made three All-Star appearances and was named to the All-NBA Third Team twice and All-NBA Second Team once.
After a successful stint with the Chicago Bulls, Gasol struggled with injuries and was ultimately unable to complete his NBA career the way he wanted to. After the Lakers signed Marc Gasol in free agency there were rumors that Pau would follow, but an official offer never materialized.
The elder Gasol worked his way back and eventually wound up signing with his native FC Barcelona where he helped them capture the 2020-21 Liga Endesa after beating Real Madrid 92-73 in the ACB Finals. Gasol was called up by FC Barcelona captain Pierre Oriola to hoist up the championship trophy, via FC Barcelona:
???? @PierreOriola & @paugasol
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???? Liga 20/21 pic.twitter.com/ZzVMwbE6E8
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) June 15, 2021
Everything I have fought and worked day after day these two years takes on special meaning after yesterday's night. Lifting again a title at home, with my people and my club… is indescribable. Proud to be part of this great team. We are the CHAMPIONS!!!
Força @FCBbasket!???????????? pic.twitter.com/TX2RmEEGCt
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) June 16, 2021
It was an emotional moment for Gasol and Barcelona as their championship win ended a seven-year drought and marked the club’s 19th title. Ahead of the game, Gasol noted that this would perhaps be his final professional basketball game, per EuroHoops:
“This can be my last game,” he admitted in the buildup to Finals Game 2 planned to be held Tuesday evening at Barca’s home court, “I have been thinking for years that my last game could have been a long time ago due to the injuries. These thoughts have crossed my mind.”
Lakers fans have to be happy for Gasol as he gets to go out on his own terms as a champion. If this was truly his final game as a pro, he definitely made it count.
Marc Gasol appreciative of time with Lakers because of Pau
The Gasols are the first set of brothers to play for the Lakers franchise and the younger Gasol noted that it was an honor to don Purple and Gold because of Pau. “Being in the bubble, there was a lot of basketball, but there was not fun at least not personally for me,” Gasol said.
“I came into this year with the mindset of enjoying every second of it. Soaking everything in and understanding what an honor it is to wear this jersey. Obviously, you guys know my family history with the team and how much it meant to Pau, so for me to be here and play here was an honor and it is an honor. I didn’t take it granted for one second.”
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