Pau Gasol Calls It A Career; Gives Shout-Out To Kobe

Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol, a key to the Los Angeles Lakers title runs of 2009-10, has officially called it a career. 

The Lakers have announced they're planning to retire Gasol's jersey this year, according to Shams Charania. In his retirement announcement, Gasol gave a special shout-out to his Lakers running mate, the late Kobe Bryant:

“I want to make a special mention to Kobe Bryant. I'd very much like him to be here but life is sometimes very unfair. He taught me how to be a better leader, better competitor, what it meant to be a winner.”

Gasol was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2001-02, a 6-time All-Star, and a 4-time All NBA selection. He spent the first six and a half years of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, before a trade to the Lakers mid-season of 2008. That would begin his run with Kobe Bryant, to three straight NBA Finals, and back-to-back titles in 2009/2010.

Gasol averaged 17 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocks in his NBA career. But he was also a legend internationally for Spain, winning 11 FIBA medals, including the gold at the 2006 World Cup, Olympic silver in 2008 and 2012, as well as bronze in 2016.

The 41-year-old finished his playing career back home with FC Barcelona, and was on the Spanish Olympic team at the Tokyo Games this summer. 

Gasol's younger brother Marc is carrying on the family tradition, returning to play in Spain after his own celebrated career in the NBA. 

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports