Gasol: “The Lakers could retire my No.16 jersey next season”
The former Spanish player assures in RAC1 that he has already talked about his removal of his shirt with the Buss family. And he also referred to the departure of Pablo Laso from Real Madrid.
Pau Gasol turned 42 this week. It’s still less than a year since he announced his retirement, and he did it on his terms. He did not let a foot injury mark the roadmap but instead fought to allow himself one last roll of the dice. It was the end of a legendary career - the best Spanish player and one of the best European players in basketball history. Gasol returned to Barcelona, won the Liga Endesa and was able to play his fifth Olympic Games with the Spanish national team - at the ripe old age of 41.
Now Pau, who has always given something back to society, dedicates his time to a number of initiatives. One of them is his Pau Gasol Academy by Santander, showing his commitment to quality training for young people interested in sport. This year, the academy has given guidance to over 300 children of more than 27 different nationalities. Yesterday, Pau visited the academy and chatted a number of issues - including Real Madrid’s controversial decision to part ways with Pablo Laso due to his medical situation - a move which the coach disagreed with. Laso, 54, suffered a heart attack during the recent Liga Endesa playoff semi-finals against Baskonia.
“The way Real Madrid dealt with that surprised me a lot. There are things that we don’t know about and of course, Madrid are free to do what they want, but the way they treated a coach who has given them so much is surprising,” explained Gasol who added that he think that Chus Mateo could be an ideal replacement for the Madrid bench: “He has shown he’s got what it takes to take over”.
Gasol’s famous No.16 jersey
Later on Sunday, Gasol was a special guest on local radio station RAC-1, where he spoke about the possibility that his number 16 jersey be retired by the Los Angeles Lakers : “There could be a special ceremony for it next season. I have spoken with the franchise and the Buss family and we are all very excited. It is difficult to anticipate such a moment. If it comes, it will be very emotional, I know it will be very difficult for me to control myself. I am very excited that something like that could actually happen.”
Pau played for the Lakers between 2008 and 2014 - without ant doubt his best years collectively in the NBA. He won two rings (2009 and 2010) in three Finals with the team, alongside Kobe Bryant of whom he became a right-hand man on the court and a close friend off it. Four of his six All Stars appearances came during his time with Los Angeles, with whom he averaged 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds. If the retirement of his number, one of the highest honors a former NBA player can receive, is confirmed, he would become the 11th to be respected with such a distinction at a legendary franchise like the Lakers. And, in total, only the seventh European player to have his jersey retired in the NBA.
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?