Pau Gasol, a finalist for Hall of Fame induction this year, received another high honor on Tuesday, March 7, when the Los Angeles Lakers retired his No. 16 jersey.
The former center was the subject of a halftime ceremony during the Lakers’ 112-103 win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies – the team with which Gasol began his career.
Lakers dignitaries participated in the event, and Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, made her first appearance at the arena since the memorial for her husband in February 2020.
Gasol and Bryant teamed up to win NBA championships for Los Angeles in 2009-2009 and 2009-2010.
Gasol’s No. 16 was raised to the rafters alongside Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24.
“I miss him so much, like many of us do,” Gasol said. “I love him, I wish he was here with (his daughter Gianna, who also died in the same helicopter crash), I really do. But I think he’d be proud.”
Gasol, a 42-year-old Spaniard, spent 6 1/2 seasons with both the Grizzlies and the Lakers. The six-time All-Star played 2 1/2 seasons for the San Antonio Spurs, two seasons for the Chicago Bulls and finished his career in a brief stint with the Milwaukee Bucks.
He won Rookie of the Year with Memphis in 2001-02, when he averaged 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocked shots per game. For his career, Gasol averaged 17 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 1,226 games (1,150 starts).
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