Paul Gasol announced his retirement and basketball loses a legend

The Spanish international pivot Pau Gasol announced this Tuesday, at the age of 41 and after 21 active seasons, his retirement from professional basketball, a moment for which he had been preparing for “years” and which comes after playing one last season with Barcelona and which also had his farewell from the national team. in the Olympics, because he wanted to end his career “playing and enjoying”.

The announcement of the two-time winner of the NBA It took place at an event held at the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, ​​which was attended by numerous guests, family members and the media. “Today I am here to inform you that I am going to retire from professional basketball. It is a difficult decision after so many years, but it is also a considered decision,” said Gasol.

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol fights for the ball with Jrue Holliday. Photo: AFP

The Barça It was the prelude (1999-2001) and the epilogue (2021) of the legendary career of Pau Gasol. The 136 games (102 in ACB and 34 in European competitions) that Gasol played with the Barça first team shirt, with which he debuted with Aito García Reneses on January 17, 1999 in Cáceres, leave moments that are already part of the imaginary of the Spanish basketball fan.

“I wanted to end up playing and enjoying myself. To have won one more League with Barça, with the club I made my debut, and to play with ‘the Family’ my fifth Olympic Games was something very special.”

He arrived at Barça in the 1997-1998 season after playing for Cornellá, a satellite club of Barça basketball that he arrived at after starting at the Col·legi Llor de Sant Boi de Llobregat.

His second season with the Barça first team, 2000-2001, was the one of his emergence both in the Endesa League and in the Euroleague, in which he dazzled in his first game on the Buducnost court with 23 points and 10 out of 12 in shots of two. In the six games he played that year in Europe, he averaged 18.5 and 6 rebounds.

Paul Gasol holding his daughter at his retirement conference. Photo: AFP.
Pau Gasol holding his daughter at his retirement conference. Photo: AFP.

After winning the Endesa League, Gasol could not, however, lift Barça’s most desired title: the Euroleague. He played his first European Cup final against Anadolu Efes in Cologne (Germany), but the title again escaped the team coached by Sarunas Jasikevicius. His Barça dream was not round.

Three ACB Leagues (1999, 2001 and 2021) and a King’s Cup (2021) are the titles that Pau Gasol won with Barça, the club in which he became a basketball player and with which he managed to complete a magic circle by wearing his jersey in his last year as a player.


“Fortunately, I have been preparing for this moment for years. And I have invested in a professional team that helps me position myself, explore avenues, explore projects and settle them.”

“Now I want to give back to society all that it has given me,” he commented on his new professional stage, recalling that he is, together with his brother Marc, president of the Gasol Foundation, who has recently been elected to form part of the Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee and who is also an advisor and ambassador for Barça.

The memory of Kobe Bryant

But when Pau really broke was when he remembered his friend Kobe Bryant, his teammate in the Lakers who died in a tragic plane crash.

“I would very much like Kobe to be here, but sometimes life is that unfair. He taught me to be a better leader, a better competitor. He taught me what it really meant to be a winner and I have always considered him a big brother.” he said about Bryant in a cracking voice.

Tribute in the Barça-Zaragoza duel

The Palau Blaugrana applauds during the tribute paid to former player Pau Gasol, after announcing his retirement from professional basketball. Photo: EFE.
The Palau Blaugrana applauds during the tribute paid to former player Pau Gasol, after announcing his retirement from professional basketball. Photo: EFE.

The Endesa League match between Barça and Casademont Zaragoza was stopped at minute 16 – Gasol’s historic dorsal – in tribute to Pau Gasol. On the same day that the Spanish player confirmed his goodbye, the Barça team played the early duel of the sixth day of the domestic competition.

Thus, the match, with 33-27 favorable to the local team, stopped four minutes before the break so that those present at the Palau Blaugrana applauded the former player of the Spanish team for a minute, while the Palau video scoreboards broadcast historical images of Gasol.

The Barça public stood up to remember a player who in the 2000-01 season exploded on that same court to make the jump to the NBA, and who a few months ago, at the age of 41, played his last games as a professional to close his second spell as a Barça player with the conquest of a League.

Lakers will draw number 16

The owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeanie Buss, through her personal Twitter account confirmed that the withdrawal of Pau Gasol’s shirt with the number 16 was never questioned, but simply to know when the act will take place.

The Buss Twitter, in which he also congratulates Gasol on his retirement, highlights all the interest that the organization has in having his shirt withdrawn as soon as possible.