Pau Gasol announced at a special conference at the Liceu theater in Barcelona, Spain on October 5 that he would retire from basketball.
This marks the end of a basketball career that spanned more than two decades, filled with many accolades and achievements.
Gasol, 41, played 18 seasons in the NBA for five different teams (Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks). He won two NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, playing a central role in winning those back-to-back titles.
He was also named to six NBA All-Star teams, four All-NBA teams and won the Rookie of the Year award in 2002, a season in which he averaged 17.6 points. , 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 blocks per game.
Gasol was originally drafted for the NBA in the 2001 NBA Draft, selected as the No.3 pick by the Atlanta Hawks, before being immediately traded to the Grizzlies. He played the first 6 ½ seasons of his career at Memphis before being traded to the Lakers in 2008. He spent the next 6 ½ seasons with the Lakers, before leaving as a free agent for the Bulls for two seasons. .
His career NBA averages are 17.0 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists per game and 1.6 blocks per game.
He played his last professional basketball season with FC Barcelona, where he began his basketball career in his native Spain in 1998.
In addition to his many NBA accomplishments, Gasol has also carved out a resume for himself during his international and Olympic careers.
Perhaps his most significant achievement was winning a 2006 World Cup gold medal. He won three more gold medals in European Basketball Championship games in 2009, 2011 and 2015.
During his Olympic career, Gasol won a silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Games, respectively, and a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics.
Gasol had previously announced the end of his international basketball career following Spain’s elimination from the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics last August, its fifth Olympics.
Overall, Gasol etched his legacy as the greatest and most accomplished professional basketball player to ever come out of Spain.
Just hours after his retirement announcement, the Lakers announced their intention to retire Gasol’s No.16 jersey. He would become the 11th player in franchise history to receive the honor, and the first since his former teammate, the late great Kobe Bryant, retired his No.8 and No.24 jerseys in 2017.
Gasol has said he hopes to stay involved in the sport as an advisor to FC Barcelona and as a member of the Spanish Sport Advisory Board and the International Olympic Committee.