Pau Gasol, NBA
Pau Gasol addresses the crowd during his jersey retirement ceremony with the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA/YouTube Screenshot


  • An overwhelmed Pau Gasol lovingly spoke to the crowd at the Arena
  • Gasol noted that Kobe Bryant would have loved to see his jersey retirement
  • Gasol won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers has added another prolific player's jersey up into the bannisters with Pau Gasol's No. 16 joining the likes of Kobe Bryant's Nos. 8 and 24, Earvin "Magic" Johnson's No. 32 and "The Logo" Jerry West's No. 44.

The Lakers' halftime ceremony was replaced with Pau Gasol's jersey retirement ceremony and the Spanish big man spoke from the heart throughout his time on the microphone.

"I'm just overwhelmed to see the faces here, all of you. It's been my honor to wear this jersey, to play for this franchise and to help this team," Gasol told the crowd at the Arena.

Before he went on any further, Gasol gave his props to Bryant.

"But I can't go on without talking about the person and the face that I don't see. My brother that elevated me, inspired me, challenged me to be a better player; just to be a better man overall. I miss him so much like many of us do. I love him, I wish he was here with Gigi [Bryant]," Gasol tearfully stated.

"I think he'll be proud and he was looking forward to this moment. I love you, brother."

Gasol and Bryant formed the two-man combo that would propel the Lakers to basketball glory in the late 2000s, winning back-to-back titles for the first time since their iconic three-peat from 2000 to 2002.

In their run to the trophy in the 2009 Finals against the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic, Gasol averaged 18.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks to down the Magic in just five games.

He would improve on those numbers in the 2010 Finals where they had a rematch against the Boston Celtics from two years prior, logging 18.6 points, 11.6 boards, and 2.6 blocks to take their second Larry O'Brien Trophy – Gasol's second and Bryant's fifth.

"As a kid growing up in Spain, I had a dream: I wanted to become a basketball player and play in the NBA. I never, in a million years, could think that a day like this could have come. It's such a huge honor being amongst those great individuals and this amazing franchise," Gasol added.

Gasol's work with the Lakers and throughout his career helped erase the stereotype that European players entering the NBA were "soft," which helped pave the way for guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic among a bevy of others.

"To those who much given, much is expected and I'll continue to commit my life to impacting others, making a difference, inspiring, helping others and to making this world a healthier and better place," Gasol concluded.

Despite starting his career with the Memphis Grizzlies and stints with the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks plus a return to his first-ever club FC Barcelona later on in his career, Gasol will forever be synonymous with greatness in a Lakers jersey.

 Pau Gasol #16 of the San Antonio Spurs chats with brother Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Pau Gasol #16 of the San Antonio Spurs chats with brother Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies Getty Images | Ronald Cortes