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Behind the Numbers: Pau Gasol

Behind The Numbers
Gilbert Arenas 0, Wizards
Marcus Banks 3, Twolves
Mike Bibby 10, Kings
Andrew Bogut 6, Bucks
Kobe Bryant 8, Lakers
Jarron Collins 31, Jazz
Tony Delk 00, Pistons
Melvin Ely 2, Bobcats
Pau Gasol 16, Grizzlies
Manu Ginobli 20, Spurs
Drew Gooden 90, Cavaliers
Grant Hill 33, Magic
Royal Ivey 36, Hawks
Linton Johnson 43, Hornets
Dikembe Mutombo 55, Rockets
Eric Piatkowski 52, Bulls
Paul Pierce 34, Celtics
Shavlik Randolph 42, Sixers
Earl Watson 25, Sonics
Pau Gasol
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Behind the Numbers: Pau Gasol

For some players, their uniform number represents a tribute to their childhood hero. For others, it’s a number worn by family members throughout their careers at various levels. But for Pau Gasol, who wears number 16, he started wearing it because he didn’t really have a choice.

“Sixteen was the number that they used to give to the young players becoming professionals back in Spain. Until a couple of years back you could only choose from number four to number 15, those 12 numbers, those were the only numbers you could choose between,” says Gasol. “The 16 and 17 were the additional numbers for the young players when somebody got hurt and they needed a young player to come in. They were the extra numbers, and they gave me the 16 in my first year with F.C. Barcelona. They just give it to you, you don’t have any choice whatsoever. If you’re new on the team and you’re also the youngest player, you don’t have any right to choose anything.”

When he joined F.C. Barcelona on a full-time basis the next year, Gasol had the option of having a number between four and 15 with the rest of the veterans, but opted not mess with the good karma number 16 had brought him a year earlier.

“I kept it because I had a great year and a lot of success. They let me keep it because you could play with a 16 if you wanted to even though it was just an additional number, but I wanted to keep it.”

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