Russell Westbrook pays huge respect to Pau Gasol as he places him over Kobe Bryant - Lakers Daily

Russell Westbrook pays huge respect to Pau Gasol as he places him over Kobe Bryant

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook offered a surprising admission by saying that Pau Gasol was his favorite player over Kobe Bryant growing up.

Westbrook’s comments come in the wake of Gasol’s retirement, which ended a lengthy basketball career.

Gasol was traded to the Lakers in 2008 and was a key part of the 2009 and 2010 NBA title teams before he moved on at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Having grown up and played collegiately in California, the 32-year-old Westbrook was well aware of Bryant’s presence with the Lakers. However, he clearly thought more highly of Gasol.

That’s especially surprising considering that Gasol was beginning his NBA career while Bryant was in the midst of helping the Lakers to three consecutive league titles. Bryant worked with Gasol for the aforementioned two championships to give him five for his legendary 20-year career.

Westbrook undoubtedly holds a great deal of reverence for Bryant’s stature in the game, but he wanted to make clear how much Gasol meant to him as well.