NBA

Pau Gasol announces retirement and thanks the late Kobe Bryant

Legendary Spanish basketball player, Pau Gasol, announced his retirement from the NBA, tearing up remembering his former teammate Kobe Bryant.

Pau Gasol spent 19 seasons in the NBA, and announced his retirement on Tuesday, ending a long and successful basketball career.

“One of the things I wanted was to finish playing and enjoying basketball. Not because of an injury, not on crutches, or in surgery,” Gasol said.

Gasol recalled his time playing basketball, starting from when he was just 16 years old to playing in the Olympic Games. In 2001, he was chosen as the third overall draft pick, and then went on to earn the Rookie of the Year Award in 2002, the World Championship Gold with Spain in 2005, and then to win back-to-back NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

Gasol's remembers the late Kobe Bryant

Seven of his 19 seasons in the NBA were spent with the LA Lakers. During that time, he formed a strong bond with his teammate, Kobe Bryant. During his retirement announcement, Gasol choked up remembering his late teammate and friend.

“Life is unfair sometimes,” Gasol said. “But he [Kobe] taught me to be a better leader, a better competitor, and what it really means to be a winner.”

The 41-year-old finished off his career in the best way possible - at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I just felt like I deserved to finish at this stage,” Gasol said in Tokyo. “I like doing extraordinary things, you know? And I felt like this was something that was worth working for and fighting for.”