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Watch Pau Gasol tear up as his number is retired by Lakers (next to Kobe’s)

The Lakers have a clear criteria for retiring a jersey: Did the impactful former Laker make the basketball Hall of Fame?

Pau Gasol certainly was impactful — he was critical to the Lakers championships in 2009 and 2010 — and he is nominated for the Hall’s class of 2023 and is a lock to get in. So the Lakers retired his No. 16, putting it right next to his close friend Kobe Bryant’s numbers.

It was impossible to have this night without the shadow of Kobe darkening the doorway just a little, the two men are linked in Lakers lore.

“I can’t go on without talking about the person and the face that I don’t see,” Gasol said to the Crypto.com Arena crowd. “The brother that elevated me, challenged me, inspired me to be a better player. Just to be a better man overall...

“I miss him. I miss him so much like many of us do,” Gasol said. “I love him. I wish he was here with Gigi. I really do. But I think he’ll be proud. And he was looking forward to this moment. So, I love you, brother.”

This is an honor that couldn’t happen to a better human being.

Gasol’s resume is sparkling. He is a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, was a four-time All-NBA, a six-time All-Star, and was the Rookie of the Year in 2002. As a side note, he has three Olympic medals (two silver and one bronze) and carried the flag for Spain at the 2012 Olympics.

Now his name joins the long list of amazing Lakers big men — Mikan, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, O’Neal — and Gasol deserves to be up there with them.