It was always Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant that was the ideal partnership for Los Angeles Lakers fans. The dominant big man was the ideal partner for the Black Mamba. But, Pau Gasol never disappointed in those late 2000s runs with Phil Jackson as well. He knew how to deal with Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, and all these other ruthless big men in the league. Now, all he could do is look back at how magical their runs were, via The Why with Dwayne Wade.

“It’s a great partnership, great relationship. Kinda two players who got on the same page and shared some amazing stuff on and off the floor. He’s a unique brother, a unique person, a unique teammate who definitely took me to another level. He showed me what greatness looks like and the seriousness of his approach to the game,” Pau Gasol said about Kobe Bryant.

Pau Gasol and the Lakers' path to a 2009 ring

Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant

The Lakers knew they had to get their revenge on Kevin Garnett's Boston Celtics in 2009. Phil Jackson was not going to allow their rivals to beat them twice. But, their road before the finals was also exciting. A fairly strong Utah Jazz team awaited them in the first round but they got the job done in five games. The Houston Rockets gave the Lakers the hardest trouble which meant this was won in seven games. Then, the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets finished in six games.

It may not have been the Celtics they faced in those finals but the Orlando Magic were formidable. Dwight Howard's squad poured their hearts out but the Lakers did not allow it to go past five games. Gasol knew how special this run was.

“This picture is a moment of joy after losing the ‘08 Finals against the Celtics. Winning ‘09 was sweet. It was my first championship, it was his first championship without Shaq. It was very meaningful to him. That’s why I was straight to the Lakers to help him and that team do that,” he declared.

The Spanish superstar always had his Lakers brother in his mind. He may not be the first partner most fans think of for Bryant but he is just happy to be there for him.