Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol announced his retirement from the sport on Tuesday, after a 23-year career. “I’m writing to inform you that I’m retiring from professional basketball. After so many years, it’s a difficult decision, but one I’ve made deliberately “Gasol, 41, stated during a news conference at the Liceu theatre in Barcelona.
Gasol, who measures 7 feet 1 inch tall, made his professional debut with Barcelona in 1998 as a center before joining the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.
He won NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010, and was selected to the All-Star team six times.
Gasol later played for the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, as well as a brief spell with the Milwaukee Bucks and a four-month tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he was unable to play due to injury.
He returned to Barcelona earlier this year, assisting his boyhood club in ending a seven-year title drought in June.
Gasol was a talisman for Spain, assisting the country in winning Olympic silver in 2008 and 2012, as well as bronze in 2016.
He returned after an almost two-year injury layoff to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Spain fell in the quarter-finals to eventual victors the USA in his final international.
Gasol began the news conference by discussing his fight to overcome a stress fracture in his left foot that he sustained in 2019.
“Not many physicians believed I’d survive, but I’m a person who thrives on difficulties, and I wanted to strive to accomplish the improbable,” he explained.
“I reached a point where I felt at ease with the prospect of my career ending; I was at peace. However, when things went well, I decided to sign for Barcelona, which was not in my original plans. However, I won the league with the club that started it all and where I made my debut. It’s been quite remarkable.”
Gasol also paid tribute to his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“I wish he could have been here today, but life can be unjust,” Gasol concluded.
“He showed me how to be a better competitor, a true winner; he was like an elder brother to me.”