Former Lakers superstar and Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol remembers what he taught his friend and teammate Kobe Bryant.
Pau Gasol retired from basketball this year in what had been a very successful 18 year NBA career. But it was extremely successful for a European guy to come into a foreign league and do what Gasol did.
The older Gasol brother came into the league in 2001 from FC Barcelona in Spain. He joined Memphis Grizzlies and established himself as one of the best centers in the league in his 7 years with the team.
Established enough that Kobe Bryant and Lakers who were in search for titles since Shaquille O’Neal left, found him to be a viable option. He spoke about it while talking to FOX Sports where he came to promote his new docuseries, “Pau Gasol: It’s About The Journey.”
“A moment that shifted my career was the trade to the Lakers because that opened up a whole different dimension,” said Gasol.
Pau Gasol remembers the only thing he taught Kobe Bryant
The six-time All-Star talked about how it felt to take the court alongside one of the best to ever do it.
“I learned first-hand what it meant to be the best. The effort, the commitment [and] the work ethic he had was unparalleled. It inspired so many players, not just on his team but beyond his team. It inspired a generation, probably multiple generations of players that we see today.” said Pau.
— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) November 5, 2021
Before Pau’s arrival Bryant was desperately looking for a partner to team up with and win Championships. The desperation was to equal Jordan, but also to leave Shaquille O’Neal behind who at the time had 1 more ring than him. Kobe wanted to have Finals MVPs as well because Shaq won them all when they won 3-titles together.
That desperation and desire to be the best had consumed the 15 time All-star so much that he barely had any friend in the team, but Pau’s arrival changed that.
“A close person to him told me that I taught him empathy, which is something that I guess I’m honored and proud of to share that with him,” Gasol said.
The two shared a friendship which Kobe hadn’t shared with anyone else in the league before. It was built on their mutual respect and thrive for success. Kobe after getting Pau in his side went on to win 2 more Larry O’Briens and ended up with 1 championship more than Shaq. Kobe won his only league MVP award in Pau’s first season. He earned the 2 Finals MVPs as well.
Pau also remembered how Kobe was to his daughters before he and Gigi perished in a helicopter crash, inspired him to be a better father to his own girls.
“He was a great girl dad, a great dad to his daughters, a great family guy, and that’s something that I want to be — a great dad to my daughter,” Gasol said.
Kobe Bryant was an inspiration for everyone even before his death. Him dealing with all his problems through his work ethic taught Pau and everyone else in the team how to function well in adversity.