HomeWorldSpanish NBA basketballer Pau Gasol honoured by LA Lakers

Spanish NBA basketballer Pau Gasol honoured by LA Lakers

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Date Published: 08/03/2023

Spaniard Pau Gasol’s basketball jersey has been retired by the US NBA champs

Spanish sportsman Pau Gasol this week became only the twelfth player whose jersey number has been formally retired by the LA Lakers in honour of his illustrious basketball career in the United States.

 

The Los Angeles franchise hung the iconic number 16 at the top of the Staples Centre pavilion, which has been graced with the kits of former greats such as Kobe Bryant and the rest of the team’s ‘purple and gold’ legends.

 

The 42-year-old from Sant Boi de Llobregat in Barcelona won two NBA championships, in 2009 and 2010, with the Lakers, where he played six and a half seasons, between 2008 and 2014.

 

The honour was shared by Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, who paid tribute to the star: “Legend of Spanish sports. Legend of world basketball. Pau Gasol, you deserve it! Thank you, Pau,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

 

His jersey is now listed among other LA Lakers greats, like George Mikan (number 99), Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44), Jamaal Wilkes (52), Shaquille O’Neal (34) and Kobe Bryant (8 and 24), Gasol’s ‘older brother’.

 

Speaking at the ceremony held at dawn on Tuesday March 7, Pau said he was grateful to have been given the opportunity in the US to erase the stereotype of the “soft” European player.

 

“Simply to be in this very select and exceptional group of players and legends of this sport and this franchise is a very great recognition. It is difficult to put a name to it,” he said.

 

Pau’s close friend Kobe Bryant tragically died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter in January 2020.

 

“It has been an immense honour, I have enjoyed it a lot,” the Spanish legend said in relation to his time playing with the team.

 


 

Image: La Moncloa

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