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Lakers great Pau Gasol’s Kobe Bryant inspiration for playing in Tokyo Olympics

Pau Gasol, Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Tokyo Olympics

Pau Gasol, at 41 years old, is still playing in the Tokyo Olympics for his native Spain. According to the NBA champion big man, though, it’s all because of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

In a recent interview with Mark Medina of USA Today, Gasol shared how Kobe has inspired him to push through his career and even join the national team in a bid to win Olympic gold. While he has battled with injuries over the past few years and even considered retirement, Bryant’s legacy continues to push him pas his limits.

“I kept him in mind a lot of the days to say hey, ‘Kobe would be pushing himself,'” Gasol said of his late friend and Lakers teammate. “Kobe would not be taking this workout easy or not skipping anything. He would be really disciplined, trusting and being committed to the work. He’s always a big presence with me. He’s always going to be an inspiration and motivation in my life.”

When Gasol was recovering from his foot injury that denied him the chance to return to the NBA, he shared how he always thought of his Lakers teammate and how relentless he was in dealing with any injury or pain. The Spaniard used that as another source of motivation not to give up on his career.

“He really pushed himself to the limit,” Gasol added. “He pushed through a lot of injuries and a lot of pain and discomfort. He was relentless and very disciplined on his rehab and his recovery. During my recovery, I always had him present.”

Now, the former Lakers big man and champion is in the Tokyo Olympics playing his heart out for his country. While Kobe Bryant is no longer with us, he would definitely be proud to see Pau Gasol defying the odds.