Not long after the Los Angeles Lakers raised two jersey numbers into the rafters to honor legend Kobe Bryant, the topic of discussion was raised for another player who in particular was once upon a time Bryant’s own partner in crime.
Pau Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2007-2008 season and continued the team’s winning tradition by helping bring the Lakers not one, but two championships in his seven-year career as a Laker, before eventually leaving to play for the Chicago Bulls.
Gasol is currently playing center for the San Antonio Spurs near the end of his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be honored for helping Los Angeles recover some of its glory days. The Spurs big man’s presence when returning to Staples Center in late January only fueled the discussion that his jersey should also be raised to the rafters, and he has some VIP support in his corner to believes it should happen.
The Lakers have a long history of acquiring historic and dominant big men such as Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abul-Jabbar, who by their own standards had careers on a completely different plane than Gasol, retiring as all-time greats, and having their jerseys retired and raised to the rafters as well.
While the seven-foot Gasol’s career doesn’t exactly match their resume, his time on the team was just as important, even though it may have been overshadowed by Bryant’s star power. Not only was he a professional, but he was a good player and a great teammate who was instrumental in bringing a championship back to Los Angeles.
Head coach Luke Walton showed his support for the 37-year-old big man and most importantly Bryant himself who says it’s not even up for debate whether or not the Spaniard’s number will be the next one in line.
Kobe Bryant me dice que no hay debate que valga: los Lakers retirarán el número 16 de @paugasol #OscarsLunch pic.twitter.com/KotLCVKxwx
— Antonio Martín (@MartinGuirado) February 5, 2018
A humble Gasol never thought to put himself in the category as the Hall of Famers who have been immortalized at Staples, but knows it would be an honor to join them.