The great Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol has announced that he is retiring from the sport after a 23-year career.
“I’m here to tell you that I’m going to retire from professional basketball. It’s a difficult decision after so many years, but I’ve taken it seriously,” Gasol told a news conference at the Laissevo Theater in Barcelona.
The 41-year-old made his professional debut as a center in 1998 before being signed by NBA side Memphis Grizzlies in 2001. He played for six seasons with Memphis and then joined Los Angeles Lakers (from 2008 to 2014). Following this, he played for Chicago Bulls (from 2014 to 2016), the San Antonio Spurs (from 2016 to 2019), and the Milwaukee Bucks (2019).
He won back-to-back NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010. He is a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection. Gasol was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Memphis Grizzlies, being the first non-American player to have won that award. Gasol then won Olympic silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Games plus bronze in 2016 for Spain. He was named MVP of the 2006 FIBA World Cup, and MVP of the 2009 and 2015 FIBA EuroBasket.
Pau Gasol paid tribute to his former Lakers teammate, late Kobe Bryant
“Not many doctors thought I’d be able to recover but I’m a person who likes challenges and I wanted to fight to do the improbable. I got to the point where I was relaxed about my career-ending, I was at peace. But, when things went well, I took the decision to sign for Barcelona, which wasn’t in my plans. But I managed to win the league with the club where it all began and where I made my debut. It’s been very special.” said Gasol on his battle to overcome the stress fracture he suffered in his left foot in 2019.
“I’d have liked him to have been here today but sometimes life is unfair. He taught me to be a better competitor, a real winner. I considered him like an elder brother.” Gasol said about Kobe Bryant