NBA

Pau Gasol announces retirement, Lakers to retire No. 16 jersey

The L.A. Lakers are set to retire Pau Gasol's No. 16 jersey after the Spaniard, who spent 19 seasons in the NBA, announced his retirement in Barcelona on Tuesday.

0

L.A. Lakers legend Pau Gasol announced his retirement from basketball this Tuesday, bringing an end to an illustrious career spanning more than two decades.

Chosen as the number three overall draft pick in 2001, the Spaniard spent 19 seasons in the NBA, during which time he won two back-to-back NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, made six All-Star selections and earned the 2002 Rookie of the Year Award. He also won World Championship Gold with Spain in 2006.

Having played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks over the course of his NBA career, the 41-year-old returned to the place where his professional career began, FC Barcelona, in February.

And it was in an opera house in Barcelona where Gasol, who had been struggling with a foot injury for nearly two years, made the announcement in front of former teammates and family members, including his wife, daughter and brother Marc.

"I'm going to retire from professional basketball," Gasol said. "It's a difficult decision after so many years, but it's a decision that I really thought over."

Silver congratulates Gasol on “outstanding career”

Following the announcement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement, hailing Gasol as “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,” said Silver.

“But what sets Pau apart is his tireless commitment to giving back to his native Spain and other communities around the world, which he continues to make a priority. We congratulate Pau on an outstanding career and thank him for being such a dedicated ambassador for our league.”

Lakers to retire Gasol’s No. 16 jersey

The Lakers are reportedly planning to retire Gasol’s No. 16 jersey. If so, the Spaniard will become the 11th player to receive the honor from the L.A. franchise and the first players since the late Kobe Bryant had his jerseys (No. 8 and No. 24) retired in 2017.

The other numbers retired by the Lakers are: 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).

"Pau Gasol brought hope and talent to the Lakers," former coach Phil Jackson said in a statement to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "The effect was immediate. His game put LA back into championship contention. He was also a gentleman and generous hero."

During his NBA career, Gasol averaged 17 points and 9.2 rebounds per game over 1,126 regular-season games. He competed in a total 136 playoff games, averaging 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per playoff encounter.