Los Angeles Lakers great Pau Gasol officially announced his retirement from the game of basketball on Tuesday, putting an end to what was a memorable NBA career that spanned for two decades. In honor of the two-time NBA champion, his former coach Phil Jackson made sure to pay tribute to him after his announcement.
Per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Jackson has nothing but praise and admiration for Gasol, whom he called a “generous hero” who greatly contributed in the success the Lakers experienced during the late 2000s and early 2010s.
“Pau Gasol, brought hope and talent to the Lakers. The effect was immediate. His game put LA back into Championship contention. He was also gentleman and generous hero,” Jackson said of Gasol.
Pau Gasol joined the Lakers from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 in a multi-player trade that includes his younger brother, Marc Gasol. Phil Jackson was already the head coach of the Purple and Gold at the time, and it was clear their partnership was a perfect match as the Spaniard quickly made his presence felt.
With Gasol in tow, Kobe Bryant leading the way and Jackson guiding the Lakers, they made it all the way to the 2008 Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in six games. In the following season and Gasol’s first full campaign with the team, the squad reached the Finals again and got the job done this time around after beating the Dwight Howard-led Orlando Magic.
Indeed, Gasol was pivotal to the Lakers as he and Kobe brought two championships to the franchise along with Jackson. And sure enough, he deserves his jersey to be retired by the historic LA franchise.