On his 40th birthday, Pau Gasol celebrated in the most fitting and heartwarming way possible: with Kobe Bryant’s family.
The Gasol-Bryant duo tore up the league with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2008-2014 which included back-to-back NBA Championships in 2009 and 2010. Gasol also was a three-time All-Star with the Lakers from 2008-2010.
During their reign of terror, the two developed quite the friendship off the court.
Once you slowly get over the void and the sadness and the pain you start looking at what he has left us. He was a guy who gave his best to whatever he did. He didn’t accept failure. He worked the hardest to be the best at what he did. You can see how now – after basketball, after his career – he was sharing all those values, all that knowledge to inspire the younger generations. To share the messages of ‘be the best that you can be’. ‘Dedicate yourself to your craft’. If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. — Gasol said about Bryant’s legacy in a video by the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association).
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].
Here are some photos taken from Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram on Monday, July 6:
40-year old Pau Gasol has been the perfect uncle for Kobe Bryant’s kids. ❤️— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 7, 2020
via Vanessa Bryant/IG pic.twitter.com/zOkpBASnTu
The Bryants wish Pau Gasol a happy 40th birthday 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/ezi4zLzkar— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) July 7, 2020
The Portland Trail Blazers signed the future Hall of Fame center to a one-year contract back on July 24, 2019. For his career, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2001 NBA draft holds averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds. At the time of the signing, the Blazers were looking to fill the depth behind Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered a gruesome foot injury in March 2019.
Unfortunately, Gasol was also recovering and rehabbing an injury that kept him on the sidelines and never took the court in a Trail Blazers uniform.
While the 40-year-old hasn’t officially retired, Gasol hasn’t ruled out a return to the Lakers or playing for Spain in the future.