Pau Gasol has decided to retire after a career worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.
Gasol, who spent 19 seasons in the NBA, took to Twitter to share a live press conference in which he announced his retirement from the game.
Gasol's Hall of Fame caliber career began at 18 with FC Barcelona in his native Spain, where the club won Spanish League titles in 1999 and 2001, with Gasol earning Finals MVP honours in 2001. After three seasons with FC Barcelona, Gasol was selected third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2001 NBA Draft before his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Gasol immediately made his presence felt in the NBA, posting averages of 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists over 82 games in the 2001-02 season, earning 2002 Rookie of the Year honours. Gasol would appear in 476 games with Memphis before a trade in February of 2008 sent him to join forces with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
After Bryant and Gasol came up short in the 2008 NBA Finals, they would go head-to-head in the 2008 Olympics when Spain met the United States in the gold medal game. Team USA came out on top, but the Beijing games saw Gasol win the first of three Olympic medals as a member of the Spanish Senior Men's National team, earning silver again in 2012 and bronze in 2016.
Pau Gasol: 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. pic.twitter.com/hnSRLwzr05- Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) October 5, 2021
Fresh off of a hard-fought Olympics, Bryant, Gasol and the Lakers would win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, with Gasol delivering an all-time performance in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Those championship years also marked seasons in which Gasol earned All-NBA honours for the first time in his career as well as the second and third All-Star selections of his NBA career.
In 2011, Gasol would earn the final All-NBA selection and All-Star selection of his time with the Lakers, which came to an end in 2014 when he signed a multi-year deal with the Chicago Bulls as a free agent. Over 429 games in the purple and gold, Gasol posted averages of 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists, numbers that, in addition to his two titles, mark an impact worthy of the No. 16 hanging from the Staples Center rafters.
The Lakers will retire Pau's No. 16 jersey and now that he is officially retired, those plans will commence. https://t.co/T4N2fH2Ztu- Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 5, 2021
As a member of the Bulls, Gasol earned two more All-Star selections in 2015 and 2016, making history in the 2015 All-Star Game when he and his brother Marc became the first siblings to start in the same All-Star Game.
After leaving Chicago to sign with the San Antonio Spurs in 2016, Gasol turned in two more solid seasons, averaging 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists from 2016-18 with the Spurs before injuries began to slow him down.
In February of 2021, Gasol's career came full circle when he returned to FC Barcelona for what would ultimately be the final stop of his pro career.
Pau Gasol career highlights
Querido baloncesto, gracias por todo.- Pau Gasol (@paugasol) October 5, 2021
Dear basketball, thank you for everything.
Estimat bàsquet, gràcies per tot.
- 2001 No. 3 overall pick
- 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year
- Averages of 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists over 1,226 career games
- Two-time NBA champion
- Six-time NBA All-Star
- Four-time All-NBA Team
- Three-time ACB League champion
- 2006 FIBA World Champion
- Two-time EuroBasket MVP
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