Pau Gasol: 'Would be huge honor' if Los Angeles Lakers retired his No. 16 jersey
From NBA media reports
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The Los Angeles Lakers are in the rough waters of rebuilding now, but just eight seasons ago, they were kings of the NBA. Back then, the Lakers were fresh off a Game 7 win in the 2010 Finals as they won back-to-back NBA titles. With Kobe Bryant leading the way, the Lakers had a mini-dynasty of sorts, making three straight NBA Finals from 2008-10.
The Lakers retired Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 (which he wore during those title seasons of ’09 and ’10) in a ceremony last month. Could the other household name and star of those teams, Pau Gasol, find his No. 16 hanging in the rafters at Staples Center soon? The answer is anyone’s guess at this point, but to Gasol — now a starter on the San Antonio Spurs — he’d be nonetheless honored to have it happen someday.
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News gauged Gasol on that topic and his Lakers days in an interview Wednesday:
“It would be a huge honor without a doubt,” said Gasol. “We had some unbelievable years with a great team, top to bottom. It’s not something I think about, but if it ever happened, it would be a tremendous honor to join the Lakers greatest players that ever played. It would be huge.”
Some may discredit Gasol’s contributions while with the Lakers or believe Gasol hasn’t put in enough time to be considered among the Laker greats. The only categories Gasol finished in the top 10 in the franchise history books: sixth in blocks (607), sixth in field goal percentage (.522) –among players who have attempted 1,000 shots – eighth in offensive rebounds (1,252), and ninth in defensive rebounds (2,988).
“That’s not up to me,” said Gasol when asked if he’s done enough to receive the honor. “I don’t think it’s up to any of the players that jerseys are hanging in the rafters. It’s not up to them to decide if they did enough or not. I’m happy I was able to be a key piece in winning championships for the Lakers, which is incredible enough and I was fortunate to be in that position.
“Everything that comes after it is something you have to welcome and appreciate,” Gasol continued. “It’s not something that I expect. It’s not something that I think I have done enough for. It would be an honor, and it would be a privilege. I’ll leave it at that.”
“I mean, it’s the team that I won two championships,” said Gasol. “I was a big piece and (played) a key role in those in those teams winning. I was an All-Star for (three) years in a row. But again, it’s not something that I think about. I try to think about my every night; what I can do to help (the Spurs) to play well and win.”