Pau Gasol’s day has arrived. There are very few hours left for the great tribute that the Lakers are preparing to come true: as they did with other historic players of the Los Angeles franchise, they will retire the number 16 shirt and the jersey of the double NBA champion with the Lakers.
This special tribute to the Spanish basketball legend will take place at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, that is, in the old Staples Centerduring the corresponding game between the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, the team that gave Pau Gasol the opportunity to debut in the NBA at 21 years of age.
The meeting will begin at 03:00 in the morning in Spain (7:00 p.m. local time in Los Angeles) and the ceremony will take place during the break of the game. The Catalan expressed his feelings about this great moment in an interview at the end of February: “Every day that goes by, every hour that goes by, we are closer to that very special moment, which is going to be as emotional as an avalanche and a hurricane of enormous emotions It’s hard to digest and process it all“, stressed the Spanish.
Pau acknowledged, in an interview with EFEwho is going to enjoy the moment as one of the most special he has had in his life: “I think the most important thing is going to be letting me goletting myself be carried away by those emotions and by that moment: enjoy it and share it with everyone. For me it is a moment of great gratitude and to share it with everyone who has accompanied me throughout my career in any position and who has been part of all the moments that have led to this moment,” he added.
Pau Gasol’s jersey and number 16 will join a prestigious list of retired numbers that includes historic Lakers legends: Abdul-Jabbar’s 33rdhe 32 ‘Magic’ Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal’s 34 or Jerry West’s 44.
A friendship for eternity
The basketball world knew the great bond that Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant had. The great duo that won two NBA rings were thick and thick and, for the Spaniard, seeing his name and his number along with those of his ‘brother’ Bryant (8 and 24) at the top of the old Staples Center It must be one of the most emotional sensations for the man from Sant Boi.
“His presence, his spirit and his legacy is always with me and I always keep it in mind. I will always consider it that way even if he cannot be with us physically, but he will be with us in another way,” Gasol stressed about Kobe.
Kobe, who died in a helicopter crash, was the propellant and the first defender for the angelina franchise to withdraw the number of Pau Gasol: “There is no debate. When you retire, It will have your number at the top of the pavilion. The reality is that we would not have won those two titles without him. We know it, we all know it,” Bryant said.
Gasol will be surrounded by family, friends and great basketball personalities
The six-time All-Star will be the center of attention at a grand gala attended by great personalities from the Lakers related to his time in the Californian city, where he would play three consecutive NBA finals and won two championships (2009 and 2010) in the biggest basketball competition in the world.
In addition, family members and close friends of Pau are expected to be present, such as Juan Carlos Navarro, José Manuel Calderón, Felipe Reyes, Raúl López, as myths of Spanish basketball, or David Munoz, singer of the musical group ‘Estopa’. The latter were already seen last Sunday in the game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors. Pau Gasol will have the ceremony that he deserves, in the place that corresponds to him and accompanied by the greatest.