Pau Gasol shares Kobe Bryant’s incredible gesture to welcome him to Lakers
Pau Gasol was the missing piece that helped Kobe Bryant win his fourth and fifth championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Their partnership was an important component for the Lakers’ championship teams in the late 2000s, and Kobe made sure Gasol felt comfortable with the team after they traded with the Memphis Grizzlies for his services.
Gasol revealed that Kobe took steps to make sure he gets to talk with his new running mate. According to Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll, the Black Mamba took extra steps to make sure he knows what to expect from playing with him.
“It was very early, when I joined the team in Washington D.C. after my physicals in L.A. (following the trade). The team was on the road, I joined the team, I wasn’t gonna play, they had an afternoon game the next day on Sunday. I was not gonna play that game, I hadn’t had a chance to practice or do anything, and Kobe had been texting me from the moment I got traded that as soon as I arrived in Washington D.C., he wanted to stop by in my room and kind of talk to me and welcome me to the team.
“I told him like ‘hey, okay, it’s gonna be late, like 1:30 or so, so you don’t have to. We can wait until tomorrow if you want.’ He was like ‘no, no, no. I’m coming. I’m coming.’ So he came, obviously I was happily surprised and he told me ‘hey I’m very happy that you’re here, very excited, this is great, but now let’s go win a championship.’
“So from the very beginning he really sent a message of what he was going to be like, and what he was about, and the kind of level and mindset I had to be at. Losing, not winning a game in the playoffs, that’s over with. Here we’re gonna go for a championship. And that was really great and unique and incredible from his part, and showed what type of leader he was.”
That talk definitely bore fruit for the Lakers as he averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his seven seasons with the Purple and Gold. He also won two rings with Kobe during that time.