Two-time NBA champions Pau Gasol announced retirement from basketball after a 23-year career. Earlier, the 41-year-old had already announced his retirement from international basketball after Spain’s defeat to the United States in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo 2020 Games, which marked his fifth Olympics. The six-time All-Star had been out of the NBA since March 2019 due to injury.
“I’m going to retire from professional basketball,”Gasol said at the media conference, “It’s a difficult decision after so many years, but it’s a decision that I really thought over.” His retirement announcement was held in an event at an opera house in Barcelona where few of his former teammates and family members, including Pau Gasol’s wife, his young daughter and his brother Marc attended.
Gasol, who had an average of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in his career, was the No. 3 pick in the 2001 NBA draft, being selected by Atlanta and traded to Memphis. He won two NBA titles with the L.A. Lakers in 2009 and 2010, playing a vital role in the back-to-back championships. He last played in the NBA in 2019 with the Milwaukee Bucks before returning to his Spanish club Barcelona in February this year.
“I wanted to end up playing and enjoying myself, not on crutches and with operations,” Gasol added. In the same event, Gasol paid an emotional tribute to former Lakers team-mate Kobe Bryant, who died in January 2020 in a helicopter crash. “One last word for my friend Kobe Bryant. I would have really liked for him to be here, but it’s not possible,” Gasol said with tears in his eyes. Follow our basketball betting.
The former leader of the Spain’s ‘The Golden Kids’, Gasol was Spain’s key man to win the Olympic silver medals in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London, as well as a bronze in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. His Tokyo 2020 Olympics appearance was his return after recovering from two years of injury. He finished his club career with a Liga ACB title in Spain in June, playing the remainder of the 2020-2021 with Barcelona.
“Pau Gasol is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players of his generation. A two-time NBA champion, six-time NBA All-Star, three-time Olympic medalist and world champion, Paul inspired countless fans through his remarkable skill and passion for the game,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. His NBA team L.A. Lakers is set to retire his No. 16 jersey.
He would become the 11th player to receive that honor and the first since Kobe Bryant had his Nos. 8 and 24 retired in 2017. He will join other retired Lakers players such as Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13), Elgin Baylor (No. 22), Gail Goodrich (No. 25), Magic Johnson (No. 32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (No. 33), Shaquille O’Neal (No. 34), James Worthy (No. 42), Jerry West (No. 44) and Jamaal Wilkes (No. 52).
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