Pau Gasol, a two-time NBA champion whose No. 16 was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month, will be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Per Woj, Gasol — elected on his first ballot — will join a star-studded 2023 class that includes Becky Hammon, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, and Dwyane Wade. A formal announcement will be made at the Final Four in Houston.
Gasol made five All-Star teams during his 18-year NBA career. The No. 3 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft averaged 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001-02 and was named Rookie of the Year. Pau averaged 18.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game over the first 15 seasons of his career. His game was defined by intelligence, skill, and an ego-less mentality.
Gasol was traded to the Lakers on Feb. 1, 2008. He helped lead the team to three consecutive Finals appearances. He connected with Kobe Bryant on and off the court, and their chemistry was the foundation of the title-winning squads of 2009 and 2010. “Uncle Pau” remains extremely close with the Bryants.
Here’s Pau on Kobe understanding how the trade gave the Lakers a championship opportunity: pic.twitter.com/cFM9hXmWyR
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) March 8, 2023
For the Spanish national team, the Barcelona native has won a FIBA World Cup, two Olympic silvers, and three EuroBasket titles.
Game 7 of the 2010 Finals is probably Gasol’s most memorable NBA performance. The Celtics’ historically stout defense limited Kobe to a 6-of-24 night from the field, but Gasol gutted out 19 points and 18 rebounds, including the greatest shot of his career (though not my personal favorite highlight).
Can’t forget about Pau Gasol finishing over three Celtics,
Kobe does not get his 5th ring without Gasol.#LakeShow2010pic.twitter.com/ZcoJWZ0JSk
— Mike (@MikeThomass23) April 16, 2020
“The city of Los Angeles wouldn’t have those two rings without Pau. We know it, everybody knows it,” said fellow Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.
A well-deserved, first-ballot honor for a pioneering basketball player and one of the nicest dudes on the planet. Vamos!
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