Roughly 12 years ago, the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Spanish-born big man Pau Gasol. Overall, it was a wise decision, as the team went on to win a pair of championships behind the play of Gasol and Kobe Bryant. Now, Pau’s brother, Marc, will look for similar results in The City of Angels.
Whether or not Marc Gasol will be able to help the Lakers reach the promised land again is still up for debate, but we’re hoping to see a few sentimental scenarios play out.
A band of brothers
In basketball circles, Gasol is a name well-known around the globe. Both Pau and Marc Gasol earned international recognition at a young age, and they racked up a laundry list of overseas accolades before making the jump to the NBA as top prospects.
While Marc is still in the NBA, Pau’s last appearance in the league came during the 2018-19 season, when he played in three games for the Milwaukee Bucks. Though he has enjoyed an illustrious career (two-time champion and six-time All-Star), Pau’s playing days appear to be coming to an end due to injuries.
We would love to see the Lakers sign Pau again — even if it’s just for one day so that the brothers could be teammates together in the NBA. They’ve been longtime teammates playing for Spain, but never in the NBA.
One interesting tidbit to note is that Marc was actually drafted by the Lakers with the 48th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for his older brother.
The acquisition of Marc Gasol pulled on the heartstrings of some Lakers fans, as it conjured up memories of Pau playing alongside Kobe, who passed away in a tragic helicopter crash back in January.
A fitting farewell
If the Lakers did sign Pau Gasol, he could then retire as a Laker.
Even if it’s a ceremonial sendoff, it would still be fitting. He played for other teams, sure. But Pau will always be remembered for his stint with the Lakers alongside Kobe.
Pau retiring with the Lakers would be an emotional moment.
Hanging with legends
The Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. After winning last year’s championship, their total now stands at 17 — a mark only tied by the Boston Celtics.
Over the years, some of the NBA’s most iconic figures have donned the famous Lakers kits. Even if you’re a casual fan, you’ll instantly recognize names like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
These are some of the greatest names in NBA lore, and their numbers are now hanging from the rafters inside Staples Center. Our hope, and the hope of many others, is to see Pau’s jersey hanging there as well.
To Bryant, there was no doubt about it. Pau is deserving of such an honor:
“There’s no debate. Pau, when he retires, he will have his number in the rafters next to mine,” Kobe Bryant told Antonio Martín of EFE in 2018, via SB Nation’s Silver Screen and Roll. “The reality is, I don’t win those championships without Pau; the city of L.A. doesn’t have those two championships without Pau Gasol. We know that, everybody knows that, and I really look forward to the day that he’s there giving his speech at center court in front of all of the fans that have supported him over the years. It’s going to be an awesome night.”
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) May 6, 2020
It would be great to see Pau Gasol sign a ceremonial contract with the Lakers, be teammates with his brother in Los Angeles (even for a day), retire as a Laker and get his jersey retired next to Kobe’s. pic.twitter.com/ZPPLOTriam
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 23, 2020
Let’s hope the Lakers make all this happen. It would be a fitting tribute to a franchise legend.