Pau Gasol returned to Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since his departure to Chicago in the summer of 2014. Gasol was welcomed back with open arms, a standing ovation and a video tribute prior to tip-off.
Gasol played seven seasons with the Lakers, amounting to 15,326 minutes, 429 games, 7,610 points, 4,240 rebounds, 1,508 assists, 607 blocks, three All-Star games and most memorably, back-to-back NBA championships. All Lakers fans in attendance received shirts with his contributions and accomplishments while wearing the purple and gold.
Less than 24 hours after his surgery, Kobe Bryant also made it to Staples Center to privately chat with Gasol. Bryant had initially planned to address the crowd during the tribute to his former teammate, but due to pain and grogginess, left Staples Center after meeting with Gasol.[divide]
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