Pau Gasol makes a ‘difficult decision’ to retire

The Spanish player Pau Gasol Saez attends a press conference to announce his retirement, at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, ​​on October 5, 2021. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Double NBA winner and Europe’s most successful basketball player Pau Gasol said Tuesday that he had made the “difficult decision” to retire, but at 41 he was comfortable with his choice.

Gasol, the older brother of Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, won the competition in 2009 and 2010 during his time at the Los Angeles Lakers.

Two years ago he suffered a foot injury that threatened to end his career earlier than planned.

“It is a difficult decision. As you can imagine, it is difficult, after so many years, but it is a considered decision, you have to change gear a bit, and know how to enjoy it, “Gasol told reporters at a press conference in Barcelona.

“I wanted to end up playing and having fun, not with crutches and operations,” he added.

He was a six-time NBA All-Star after being named the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2002 and won his two NBA crowns alongside Kobe Bryant.

Gasol paid an emotional tribute to former Lakers teammate Bryant, who died in January 2020 in a helicopter crash.

“One last word to my friend Kobe Bryant. I would have liked him to be here, but it’s not possible, “said Gasol with tears in his eyes.

“Life is not fair sometimes. He taught me to be a better player, a better leader, I always considered him like an older brother ”, he added.

‘The golden children’

Kobe Bryant Pau Gasol Lakers

Pau Gasol # 16 of the Los Angeles Lakers puts his arm around teammate Kobe Bryant # 24 during the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on November 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Jeff Gross / Getty Images / AFP

For Spain, Gasol, who also went through the Grizzlies, the Chicago Bulls, the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks, claimed two Olympic silver medals and a bronze, as well as three EuroBasket crowns.

He was the leader of his country’s generation nicknamed ‘The Golden Kids’, as he led a team that included his brother, as well as former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro and former Portland TrailBlazers forward, Rudy Fernández, to the 2006 FIBA ​​World Cup.

The Catalan, with 2.16 meters, is among the best players on the continent in the NBA along with the German Dirk Nowitzki, the Croatian Drazen Petrovic, the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo and the French Tony Parker, to whom he passed at most EuroBasket scorer in 2017.

His last international appearance was at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo during the quarter-final loss to the United States.

He ended his club career with an ACB League title in Spain in June while playing for local Barcelona, ​​but failed to clinch the Euroleague.

“I am grateful to everyone. Having won one more league with Barça ”, he said.

Gasol said he did not want to become a coach, but indicated that his future was still within the game that he has honored for more than 20 years.

“Consultant or director… We’ll see. I’ve already started talking to a lot of NBA teams, ”he said.

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