As Pau Gasol had his jersey retired, the Lakers shared an old video of Kobe Bryant praising his former teammate and close friend.
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol had a deep connection. They played 357 games together as teammates for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning two titles. Pau is the godfather to Kobe’s children and named his own daughter after Kobe’s eldest, Gianna, and made Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, her godmother.
If Kobe hadn’t died in a 2020 helicopter crash he would have been front and center at Gasol’s jersey retirement ceremony at Tuesday night’s Lakers game. However, the Lakers did show a video message from Kobe on the scoreboard that appeared to have been recorded around the Oscars ceremony in 2018.
Kobe Bryant had nothing but love for Pau Gasol
To be clear, the message above wasn’t new and wasn’t recorded specifically for this ceremony. It had also been available to view before. However, it was still a poignant moment organized by the operations staff finding a way to incorporate Kobe’s presence into the evening.
Gasol become the 12th member of the Lakers to have his jersey retired, joining Bryant, George Mikan, Jamaal Wilkes, Jerry West, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor. Technically though, that dozen players have 13 retired jerseys, since the Lakers retired both No. 8 and No. 24 in honor of Bryant.
Gasol played seven seasons and 429 total games for the Lakers, averaging 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. It was a relatively short tenure compared to some of those other franchise greats and you won’t find him near the top of any Lakers’ all-time leaderboards but he absolutely left his mark on Kobe and Los Angeles.
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