Lakers’ Russell Westbrook’s shocking Kobe Bryant admission amid Pau Gasol’s retirement
Much has been made about Russell Westbrook being a local guy after the news he had been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. The UCLA product admitted, however, that it wasn’t Kobe Bryant who was his favorite player growing up – it was Pau Gasol.
In front of a handful of reporters, Brodie paid tribute to Pau Gasol in a big way. Amid the news that the big man’s retirement, Russ detailed his longstanding infatuation for the Lakers icon. (Around 7:38 mark)
“I’ll tell you guys an interesting fact that nobody actually knows about me,” said the Lakers star. “Pau was actually my favorite player growing up, even before Kobe.”
It’s a surprising admission to say the least. An up and coming young guard playing in Los Angeles during Kobe Bryant’s prime years looking up to anyone but the Mamba? He’s definitely one of a very select few.
“He could pass it, he could shoot it, he could score it. To me, I just liked how he played the game at his size. I wouldn’t say I modeled my game after him, but I liked the way he played the game and always played it the right way. So that’s a little fun fact.”
But looking up to Pau Gasol isn’t surprising at all. The hulking Spaniard played seven seasons in Los Angeles, with two titles, three Finals appearances, and three All-Star selections. Kobe’s Lakers probably wouldn’t have garnered the success that they had if the Gasol trade never happened.