Rafa Nadal wanted to value the figure of his friend Pau Gasol hours before the Los Angeles Lakers remove the jersey with the number 16 that he wore during his time in the Los Angeles outfit. “That the Lakers retire Pau Gasol’s jersey is something incredible for me. That the most emblematic team in NBA history retires the jersey of a player who is not American, who is Spanish makes me very excited. It is a day to celebrate and to be proud of what Pau has achieved and what it has meant in the most important league in the world. and in a sport in which things like that seemed very distant a few years ago”.
The Balearic tennis player does not keep any special moment in Pau Gasol’s career. In many of them, he has been present due to the friendship that unites them. “I have many memories of seeing Pau in unforgettable matches. I have experienced some of them live. I have been lucky enough to experience Pau’s career up close“.
Beyond titles and medals, Nadal extols how Gasol has managed to reach the top to the point of being up to other NBA myths. “Pau is one of the historical references of our sport for many reasons. For me there is something that makes him special. He has been a pioneer in achieving things that had not been achieved before and more in a sport like basketball where the Americans have been the clear dominators. They still are, but Pau has brought us very close to that level and has paved the way for many others who will come after thanks to what he has achieved before “.
Nadal stresses that Gasol is an example to be followed by future generations of young athletes: “He is a good example of all the values that must be attributed to an athlete to be so successful, but also how it got there, being a good example of how things are done, to respect others and to be a good example for young people that is still very necessary”.
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