Saturday was the day that Pau Gasol was formally inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after a long and prosperous NBA career.
Gasol is most associated with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he teamed up with the late Kobe Bryant, and during his induction ceremony, he paid tribute to the Black Mamba.
"I wouldn't be here without you brother. I wish more than anything that you and Gigi were here today with us." 💜 pic.twitter.com/WRxadnZeSU
Gasol and Bryant seemed to have a strong symbiotic relationship during their six-and-a-half seasons together in Los Angeles. The big man arrived at a time when the Lakers were seemingly stuck between a rock and a hard place and were mired in mediocrity.
Bryant had infamously demanded a trade several months earlier, and Gasol also felt stuck playing on a struggling Memphis Grizzlies team.
But the 2008 trade allowed both to start playing for championships. They quickly develop chemistry together, and that season, the Lakers reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004, only to lose to the Boston Celtics.
Gasol and Bryant learned from the loss, and the team won the next two NBA titles, including one over Boston in 2010.
Gasol was sometimes underappreciated during his stay in L.A., but he was a fantastic player who could almost do it all. His low post skills, outside shooting touch, passing ability and excellent visceral feel for the game made him the perfect co-star for Bryant, as well as the perfect big man for head coach Phil Jackson and his triangle offense.
During his time in the NBA, he was selected to the All-Star team six times and an All-NBA team four times, and he was named the Rookie of the Year for the 2001-02 season.
Gasol had his No. 16 jersey retired in March, and with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he now belongs to the ages.