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

Brad Sullivan
1 Min Read

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.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.