Pau Gasol, already one of the greatest international players in the NBA history, on Sunday night reached the 15,000-point milestone that only nine foreign born players had climbed to before him.
With a 20-foot jumper from Kobe Bryant at the 9:21 mark of the third quarter in a 119-108 victory over Houston, Gasol had scored the 12 points required, before finishing the night with 15,005 for his career.
“It feels good," reflected the first Spaniard to hit 15K. "I think it’s something to be proud of and I’m happy to be able to have reached this milestone but I want to continue. I want to continue to be as productive as I’ve been throughout my career, and it feels good. It’s a big milestone to reach.”
The nine other foreign born players include Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dominique Wilkins (France), Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Rolando Blackman (Panama), Steve Nash (South Africa), Kiki Vandeweghe (Germany) and Detlef Schrempf (West Germany). All but Nowitzki and Gasol played college hoops in the United States.
Bryant, long one of Gasol's biggest fans, shared his appreciation of the 12-year veteran, now 32 years old.
“That’s a huge accomplishment … he is one of the greatest international players to ever come to our game and it’s extremely well deserved," said Bryant. "Hopefully people will talk about it a little bit and sing his praises a little bit. He's not the type to toot his own horn, so, I think it's important for Los Angeles to kind of pay their respects for what he's done for this franchise. He kind of goes under the radar, slips under the mat for whatever reason. He's a fantastic player."