NBA: Pau enters the history of the Lakers: “After everything I’ve experienced, I’m still dreaming”

Pau Gasol He walked excitedly through the facilities of the Lafayette Recreation Park Center, a sports center in Los Angeles, because he knows that his game is now played without baskets. The attention aroused by his figure, legendary in basketball, is an extraordinary claim to help social causes. That is why, on a warm Los Angeles morning, the Spanish sports legend has organized an act of the Gasol Foundation. The pretext is great: tomorrow the Lakers retire his jersey with the ’16’ in a tribute to the career of six and a half seasons in the Californian franchise for the player who helped win two rings (2009 and 2010).

“These acknowledgments are amazing, it’s hard for me to process it. After everything I’ve experienced, I keep dreaming. It’s very exciting. But I want all of this to have more of a journey, to be translated into things that generate value to contribute to others, to those who need it most, that have a social impact. Take advantage of the relevance of acts like this”. Pau never loses focus even on occasions that would make one lose one’s head.

It’s hard for me to process all this, it’s very exciting. I want all this attention to be translated into influence to help those who need it most.

Pau Gasol, Spanish sports legend

What will happen in the next dawn had never happened before, as has been a regular in Pau’s career in the NBAone of the national athletes who jumped the most insurmountable barriers: first Spanish ‘rookie’ of the year (2002), first Spanish All Star (2006), first Spaniard with a ring (2009), first Spaniard in an ideal quintet of the competition (2009), first Spanish player of the week and of the month… Now he caresses another feat. The Lakers finalize the details of what will be the tribute during the break of the game they will play against the Grizzlieshis first NBA team back in 2001, six years before the birth of the first Iphone, days after 9/11.

Spanish basketball party

be at rest (around 05:00 in the morning of Wednesday in peninsular time) in a ceremony led by Jeanie Buss, owner of the franchise, with some surprises in which relatives and friends of the player from Spain, members of the Jniors de Oro, will be present. Felipe Reyes, Juan Carlos Navarro, Ral Lopez, Jos Caldern… Vanessa Bryant, a widow from Kobe, with whom he has a close relationship, and more than twenty journalists (from 15 different media outlets) who have traveled as if it were a major sporting event. “It has never happened in Spanish sport. It is a great honor. I feel supported by the people I love, sharing these unrepeatable moments. I want to savor it well, live it slowly and share it with all the people who have been important in my career” .

I want to savor it well, live it slowly and share it with all the people who have been important in my career.

Pau Gasol, Spanish sports legend

It is a big day for Pau, engrossed in a hundred issues in the city where he lived for almost seven years with a frenetic activity. At the Gasol Foundation event in Lafayette Parka 10-minute drive from the Arena, played with children in a small ‘tuned’ pavilion in the colors of the Lakers, who have used the official parquet flooring of the franchise so that everything has the aroma of purple and gold.

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He eldest of the Gasols, along with Hector de la Torre, director of the Gasol Foundation in the United States, Report on the progress made by his institution in the United States. He will do it with a smile, taking responsibility for his mission of promoting healthy lifestyle habits while fate reminds him of what he was: a basketball giant who will be honored as the hero of the 2009 and 2010 rings along with Kobe. At the Lakers store they sell commemorative jerseys for the act that fill the Arena.

Nor is it very common for the franchise with 17 championships (top in the NBA along with the Celtics) to pay these tributes. It is the twelfth shirt that the franchise of the record man has retiredChamberlain, from the Jerry West logo, from the 80s Showtime artists, Magic-Jabbar-Worthy, from the dominating turn-of-the-century combo, Shaq and Kobe. Gasol enters a sacred pantheon, along with NBA legends.

next to kobe

The Catalan is a much-loved player in the last great era of the franchise, that of the ‘back to back’ of 2009 and 2010. The Lakers value his impact on that team that needed precisely “a player like him to rise to the ring.” It is a phrase of kobe ​​bryant, whose close link with Pau has also helped. The shirt with the 16 will be next to those of ‘8’ and ’24’. “Every step I take, he is in my thoughts. I grew as a player, I played at the highest level thanks to him. And I did my part. But his leadership, his example, his way of reaching out to others really raised my game, made me a better player and allowed me to win two championships. He is watching us and he is definitely part of these moments that I am going to live”, he says.

Pau will see his friends before his big day today. He has to celebrate what he has lived and what he has left. “It is time to celebrate this recognition, but also to continue working on other tasks and give back to society everything that sport gave me“.

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