Pau Gasol bids emotional farewell to basketball

2021-10-05T18:56:04+00:00 2021-10-06T10:32:58+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

05/Oct/21 18:56

All-time great Pau Gasol is hanging his shoes for good.

By Eurohoops team /

Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol officially put an end to his 22-year career. The two-time NBA champion announced his retirement from basketball during a press conference that was held in his native Barcelona Tuesday (5/10).

“I’m here to inform you that I’m going to retire from professional basketball,” Gasol said. “It’s a very difficult but thoughtful decision. You have to change gears and know how to enjoy yourself. I wanted to finish playing while I’m enjoying myself and not because of an injury and while being on crutches. I’m very grateful to all of you who have contributed to making this a reality.”

Gasol’s next chapter won’t find him on a basketball floor but he will remain quite busy with the many projects he’s already involved in.

“I’ve been preparing for this moment for years,” Gasol said. “I want to give back to sport and to society what it has given me, whether as an advisor and ambassador for Barca, a member of CADE, a member of the IOC, the basketball academy… I will continue and have more time now to focus on those projects.”

The last station in Gasol’s career was the team he began his journey with: Barcelona. While he had been content with the idea of retiring before joining the Blaugrana, he also wanted to do something extra and close his career in a different way.

“I had reached a point where I was very calm, that if my career had finished, I’d be at peace but with the dream of achieving something more. When we saw that things are going well, we got the opportunity to sign with Barca, something that wasn’t in my plans. They were very special months, some of the most beautiful times of my career. And then to be able to play once again with my family, the national team. Although we couldn’t win a medal, playing was already a great success.”

Gasol thanked the many players he’s been with throughout his career, including current Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius and general manager Juan Carlos Navarro who attended the event. He then made a special mention to the late Kobe Bryant.

His “older brother”

“I want to make a special mention to Kobe Bryant. I’d very much like him to be here but life is sometimes very unfair. He taught me how to be a better leader, better competitor, what it meant to be a winner.”

Gasol, 41, has been contemplating his future during the offseason, after making his last professional appearance with his native FC Barcelona during the 2020-21 campaign. A long-awaited return happened after 20 successful years in the NBA.

During this time, Gasol was crowned NBA champion twice with the Los Angeles Lakers (2009, 2010) and has been named into the NBA All-Star six times in total (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016).

A pillar of the Spanish national team, Gasol has won the silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, a bronze at the 2016 Olympics, gold at the 2006 FIBA World Cup, and lifted the national team to three gold medals at the FIBA EuroBasket (2009, 2011, 2015).

Besides his numerous awards and honors, Gasol has been using his medium to advocate for human rights as a UNICEF ambassador since 2003. In 2013, he established the Gasol Foundation alongside his brother Marc, with a mission to eradicate childhood obesity.

Gasol has also been a strong advocate for women’s basketball and has also served as the Vice-President of the NBPA.