Former Los Angeles Lakers center, Pau Gasol has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He will be joining the Hall of Fame Class of 2023, with Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Gregg Popovich, and Tony Parker. The announcement was made just before the semi-finals of the NCAA basketball tournament. The 2x NBA champion is well deserving of such an honor after a wonderful career in Europe and NBA.
Gasol is one of the best players to ever grace the game of basketball. Before Pau joined the NBA he played for FC Barcelona and win 2 Liga ACB Championships along with the Spanish King’s cup. The Memphis Grizzlies drafted Gasol as 3rd overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. He was an instant hit and won the Rookie of the Year award.
However, his career changed when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. There he joined hands with Kobe Bryant, who considered the Spanish his brother. They share 2 NBA titles and had a deep respect for each other. With that said, fans have taken to Twitter to congratulate him and know that Kobe would be proud of him. “Kobe would’ve been proud,” one fan commented.
Congratulations Pau Gasol, officially a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame class for 2023. 💛 pic.twitter.com/WST1G1BaJT
— Kobe Highlights & Motivation (@kobehighlight) April 1, 2023
we love you Pau! 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/9Zx3cdiDVt
— Lakers Global 🌎💜💛 (@LakersGlobal) April 1, 2023
He deserves it, I remember these years. Made the NBA so fun kobe deserved it
— Mathew V. Liberto (@The_Suntrip) March 29, 2023
Pau! Just know that Kobe is beyond proud of you, good sir 👏🏽🎊 pic.twitter.com/yZl6tca3vZ
— Mychal (@mychal3ts) April 1, 2023
Seeing Pau make it to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was just a matter of time. With his jersey now retired by the Lakers besides his brother Kobe, is an emotional moment he would have liked to share. Now he steps into the Naismith Basketball Hall of fame with Kobe once again.
Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant shared a brotherly bond
Besides winning 2 NBA titles together, Kobe and Gasol went on to become more than just friends and were like brothers. Kobe had high regard for Gasol and was like family to him. Even after Kobe’s passing Gasol has lived up to be something of an uncle figure for his daughters, and can be seen spending quality time with them. Gasol shares a wholesome relationship with his eldest daughter, Natalia Bryant.
Despite, all the love they had for each other, they were extremely professional when it came to their basketball career. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they became rivals on the court, and Kobe went ahead to set an example for his teammates. Kobe ran through Gasol’s chest right at the start of the game which surprised everyone.
In 2004, the US Olympic Men’s Basketball team lost the gold and sought redemption in Beijing 2008. @KingJames, @DwyaneWade, and Kobe Bryant led The Redeem Team. This is that story. #TUDUM pic.twitter.com/95MCsOQ6h3
— Netflix (@netflix) September 24, 2022
“he just went right to the middle of my chest, tried to get through me to send a message, not just to me but to his teammates, saying, ‘hey this might be my brother. I play with him, we’re close. But I don’t care about anything else but winning,’” Gasol said about the incident.
Neither of them had any hard feelings about it and respected the other’s mentality to win. It goes on to show how they truly understood each other and respected the game of basketball on the court.