Last Updated on 5 Oct 2021 9:35 pm (UK Time)
Pau Gasol has announced his retirement from basketball, ending a career that lasted more than two decades and earned him two NBA titles and a world championship gold with Spain’s national team.
Gasol played 18 NBA seasons, made two All-NBA second teams, two All-NBA third teams and six All-Star teams. The Lakers have already announced they’ll retire his No. 16. He also won silver medals with Spain in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and a bronze in the 2016 Games. With his peak, longevity and international bona fides, Gasol checks every box for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 41-year-old had already announced his farewell from international basketball in August after Spain lost to the United States in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Games, which marked his fifth Olympics.Embed from Getty Images
He returned home to Spain last season to finish his career with FC Barcelona, bookending his professional career after he played for the team from 1998 to 2001. His career had stalled before that because of a stress fracture in his left foot that lingered and kept him from playing for nearly two years.
“I’m going to retire from professional basketball,” Gasol said. “It’s a difficult decision after so many years, but it’s a decision that I really thought over.”Embed from Getty Images
The retirement announcement was made in an event at an opera house in Barcelona attended by former teammates and family members, including Pau Gasol’s wife, his young daughter and his brother Marc.
Gasol won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, in 2009 and 2010, and averaged 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds in 1,226 regular-season games with five NBA teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks. He was the No. 3 pick in the 2001 NBA draft, being selected by Atlanta and traded to Memphis.Embed from Getty Images
Gasol last played in the NBA with the Bucks in 2019. He signed with the Portland Trail Blazers that year but never got to play.
Gasol won a world championship title with Spain in 2006, in addition to European titles in 2009, 2011 and 2015. He helped Spain win Olympic silver medals in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London, as well as a bronze in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.Embed from Getty Images
Gasol recently won an election to represent athletes for the next seven years with the International Olympic Committee. He joined an IOC membership list drawn variously from European and Middle East royal families, international sports bodies, business leaders and 12 athletes elected by their peers.
Gasol was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft and quickly became a difference-maker for the Memphis Grizzlies. He averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game across six-and-a-half seasons before a midseason trade to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008.
The center thrived in Los Angeles as a No. 2 option alongside Kobe Bryant, helping the team win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.Embed from Getty Images
He finishes his career ranked in the top 50 in NBA/ABA history in total points (20,894), rebounds (11,305) and blocks (1,941), while his 144 win shares rank 31st all-time.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver congratulated Gasol on his retirement in a statement, calling him “one of the most accomplished players of his generation”: