Yet another legendary Los Angeles Laker has been inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.
Pau Gasol, who played seven seasons with the Lakers and won two championships alongside the late Kobe Bryant, was inducted in a ceremony on Saturday night, where he expressed gratitude for his fans and paid respect to Kobe and his daughter Gianna, who passed away tragically in a helicopter crash in 2020.
“[Kobe] just wanted to make sure that right away, firsthand, I got the message,” Gasol said at Saturday night’s induction ceremony. “He said ‘Welcome to the team, I’m happy you’re here, now let’s go win a championship together.’”
“I wouldn’t be here without you brother,” he continued. “I wish more than anything that you and Gigi were here today with us.”
The six-time All-Star also played for the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks during his 18-year career in the NBA, where he was the Rookie of the Year in 2002, becoming the first non-American to win the award.
A native of Barcelona, Spain, Gasol originally played for FC Barcelona’s basketball team before being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Grizzlies on draft night.
Gasol was acquired by the Lakers in a blockbuster trade in 2008 that sent Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittendon, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol – Pau’s younger brother – and two first round draft picks to Memphis.
A member of the Spain national basketball team, Gasol won two silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London respectively, losing to Team USA in the final on both occasions. He also secured a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in addition to a gold medal at the 2006 Basketball World Cup and three gold medals in the EuroBasket tournament.
His number 16 was retired by the Lakers this past March, making him the 12th Lakers player to have their jersey retired.