Written by: Alex Torres
Pau Gasol is the second best player on the Los Angeles Lakers and plays in the shadow of Kobe Bryant: one of the greatest and most beloved Lakers of all time. He could easily be a first option superstar on most NBA teams, but fortunately for Lakers Nation he wears number sixteen for the purple and gold, and how sweet it is.
Without Pau Gasol the Lakers would not be a back-to-back championship team and more importantly on a pursuit for a third straight title. Now more than ever, the Lakers need Gasol to carry this team at the start of the season with Andrew Bynum being sidelined once again with an injury, and Kobe still not one hundred percent healthy.
While Kobe owns LA, Pau has a whole country behind him.
As of late, Spain has enjoyed much athletic success at the professional level worldwide in a variety of sports. Most recently, their national soccer team just won the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and also won the 2008 Euro Cup. Rafael Nadal, another native from Spain, is the only other tennis player not named Roger Federer who has held the number one tennis ranking and in the process won a couple major tennis championships. Then there is Pau Gasol, the first Spaniard to truly enjoy major success in the NBA, and a pioneer who paved the way for many more Spaniards to make the leap to the United States and showcase their talents in the NBA.