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Lakers retire Pau Gasol’s jersey #16 in emotional ceremony


The Staples Center was filled with a sense of nostalgia as the Los Angeles Lakers retired Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey during their game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Gasol, who is a finalist for the Hall of Fame induction this year, was the subject of a halftime ceremony where Lakers dignitaries participated.

It was an emotional event for the former center, who spent 6 1/2 seasons with both the Grizzlies and the Lakers. Gasol won NBA championships alongside the late Kobe Bryant in 2009 and 2010, with the Lakers retiring both of their jerseys as well as Gasol’s during the ceremony.

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol speaks during his jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday,(AP)

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, made her first appearance at the Staples Center since her husband’s memorial in February 2020. Gasol expressed his love for his former teammate and close friend, saying, “I miss him so much, like many of us do. I love him, I wish he was here with (his daughter Gianna, who also died in the same helicopter crash), I really do. But I think he’d be proud.”

Gasol started his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies, where he won Rookie of the Year in 2001-02. He then went on to play for the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks, finishing his career with the latter. Throughout his career, Gasol was a six-time All-Star and averaged 17 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 1,226 games.

Los Angeles Lakers former player Pau Gasol hugs his daughter Elisabet Gianna during his jersey retirement at Crypto.com Arena.(USA TODAY Sports)

The retirement of Gasol’s No. 16 jersey is a well-deserved honor for the former center and serves as a reminder of his contributions to the Lakers organization and the NBA as a whole.

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