Legend. Pau Gasol, historical figure of Spain, announced his retirement from basketball


After a career full of successes especially in the NBA and in the national team, Spanish pivot Pau Gasol announced on Tuesday the end of a huge career, that made him one of the great European players in the best basketball league in the world, in which he won two rings, and in one of the most important athletes in the history of his country. Gasol made his announcement in an emotional event in Barcelona with words that were felt by those present.

At 41, the Catalan giant He said goodbye with a brilliant career full of titles: The pivot was a three-time European champion, played 18 seasons in the NBA and lifted two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first Spanish basketball player to do so. In addition, he was World Champion in 2006 and hung three olympic medals, two of silver and one of bronze.

With a voice shaking with emotion, Gasol spoke in a room of the Gran Teatro del Liceo, in the heart of Barcelona, ​​where he had summoned former colleagues, family and media to report his decision. “I am here to inform you that I am going to retire from professional basketball. It is a difficult decision, as you can imagine, after so many years, but it is a considered decision, you have to change gears a bit, and also know how to enjoy yourself, “he explained to a select audience of close friends.

Gasol leaves the professional activity after a quiet reflection that he faced after playing his fifth and last Olympic Games in Tokyo, where his great journey earned him being chosen member of the athletes commission of the International Olympic Committee. After falling in the quarterfinals against the United States in Saitama, made his retirement from the Spanish team official, but he kept the unknown about his career until this Tuesday where he announced his. A situation similar to that of the Argentine Luis Scola.

Pau Gasol hugs Luis Scola. Both basketball players made similar decisions regarding their retirement after playing the Olympic Games in Tokyo.


Pau Gasol hugs Luis Scola. Both basketball players made similar decisions regarding their retirements after playing the Tokyo Olympics (ARIS MESSINIS /)

“One of the things I wanted was to end up playing and enjoying, not because of an injury, not on crutches and with operations,” he said about his decision, which comes months after having managed to return to competition with Barcelona, ​​after two hard years recovering from a left foot injury that many thought he would not return from.

On your way home, Gasol got what was his second league with Blaugrana from which he raised in his first season as a Barça professional (2000-2001). The Euroleague was the only thing he couldn’t achieve with that shirt. That explosive 2001 was also the jump to the NBA as No. 3 in the draft, where he began the nearly two-decade journey that built his legend. At the age of 21 he joined the Memphis Grizzlies where he was from 2001 to 2008 and also, in his first experience, ended up being recognized as Rookie of the year in 2002, being the first foreigner to do so.

But he did not do it alone. “My family parked everything to go to Memphis in 2001, when I ventured to go to the NBA, a bit precipitated by the circumstances, because I did not think that they chose me so high,” he recalled about the decision of his parents and his two little brothers, Marc and Adriá. “It is something that I will always thank you for,” he added excitedly.

Champions in Japan 2006: Pau and Marc Gasol, summoned to the last moment when he was depressed

Champions in Japan 2006: Pau and Marc Gasol, called up at the last minute when he was depressed

Pau and Marc Gasol were champions with the Spanish team in Japan 2006

From Memphis I would give the great leap to the Los Angeles Lakers, the franchise where he was from 2008 to 2014 and where he fulfilled his great dream and where he took Spanish basketball to an unknown dimension: to shine in the NBA. With the California team jersey, Gasol conquered the 2009 and 2010 rings, with his long-awaited Kobe Bryant.

The memory that I considered his older brother”, and whose death last year left the Spaniard very sad, was one of the most moving moments of his farewell. “I would very much like him to be here, but that’s life,” said the pivot on the verge of tears. “Life is very unfair sometimes. We miss him and his daughter Gigi so much, but he taught me how to be a better leader, a better competitor, and what it really meant to be a winner. ” In the front row, Gasol was also applauded by his daughter Elisabet Gianna, who has just turned one year old. The little girl’s middle name is a tribute to Bryant’s daughter, who died with her father.

Pau Gasol with Kobe Bryant whom, prior to his death, he considered as an older brother


Pau Gasol with Kobe Bryant whom, prior to his death, he considered as an older brother (LARRY W. SMITH /)

Six times All-Star, after the Lakers, Gasol also went through Chicago Bulls (2014-2016), San antonio spurs (2016-2019) where shared team with Emanuel Ginobili and, throughout 2019, by Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers, from where he returned to Barcelona, ​​with his sights set on Tokyo. With him, the last survivor of the “Golden Juniors” also leaves, the generation that led along with José Manuel Calderón, Felipe Reyes and Juan Carlos Navarro and who gave so many joys to Spanish basketball, propelling it to the most successful stage in its history .

Pau Gasol follow & # xe1; on the Spurs with Manu

Pau Gasol will continue at Spurs with Manu

Pau Gasol shared a team with Manu Ginobili at Spurs between 2016 and 2019

With multiple concerns, the world and NBA champion He referred to what will be his new present from now on. “I have been preparing for that moment for years. Philanthropy is something very important to me. Since 2003 I have been an ambassador for UNICEF and working with the foundation to combat childhood obesity is very important. The project is that in Spain there is a plan against childhood obesity. I have also invested and advised various companies aligned in health and sports ”. On this subject he added: “It is about investing in health, sports …”, assured Pau Gasol.

For the moment, the Catalan rule out being a coach. “In the end, it is a very high dedication. You have to put more hours into it. I am looking for versatility, flexibility. A wide range of things and concerns. Not just one. As I am a demanding person, I am going to explore the topic of being a consultant, the executive path … with a little more flexibility. Talking to different NBA teams to get involved and see how they work to learn. A big learning stage begins. Then we’ll see where we end up; I want to give back to sport and to society all that it has given me ”, Pau closed, grateful to the Barcelona club.