Pau Gasol on getting his jersey retired by Lakers: ‘I think it’s the highlight of my life’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers will retire Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey on Tuesday at halftime of the game between the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

Gasol split the lion’s share of his NBA career with the Lakers and Grizzlies, so the timing of the ceremony makes perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense that his jersey is getting retired, as he played a pivotal role in the Lakers’ 2009 and 2010 championships.

The 42-year-old recently said that getting his number retired by the Lakers is the highlight of his life.

“Highlight of my career? Gasol told Fox Sports on Monday at a Gasol Foundation event to reduce childhood obesity. “I think it’s the highlight of my life, this moment that we’re about to experience. Having my jersey retired and receiving this honor and being with that group of people and incredible achievers, legends, it’s something I could’ve never imagined.”

The Spaniard helped lead the Lakers to those two title wins alongside the late, great Kobe Bryant. The two were incredibly close, and Gasol mourned Bryant’s death as if he had lost a brother.

Gasol has also been a consistent figure in the lives of Bryant’s family members since his untimely passing. The six-time All-Star spoke about Bryant when discussing his upcoming jersey retirement ceremony.

“He elevated me,” Gasol said of Bryant. “He made me better as a player. He showed me what it took to be a better leader and one of the best, if not the best player on the floor. The attitude, the mindset, the approach, how hard he worked for it, how badly he wanted it. He set the tone and it was up to you whether you wanted to be on that train and that path – or that was not something for you and you’ve got to get off.”

If Bryant were alive, he would surely have been in attendance on Tuesday night. Surely, there will be many who were lucky enough to play alongside the two Lakers legends in attendance tonight.

During his Lakers career, Gasol averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 boards, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. Over his two title runs with the team, he put up 18.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game.

As for the Lakers, they’re currently in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 31-34 record. They could move into a play-in tournament spot by the end of their game on Tuesday.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.