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Pau Gasol's No. 16 Lakers Jersey to Be Retired on March 7 vs. Grizzlies

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2022

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

A two-time champion and Los Angeles Lakers legend will be honored with a jersey retirement this season.

The Lakers announced they will "raise Pau Gasol's jersey into the rafters" ahead of their March 7 game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Doing it against the Grizzlies was a fitting touch since the big man played the first six-plus seasons for the team before he was traded to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

A Champion, legend, and forever part of the Lakers Family.<br><br>3/7/23 - We raise Pau Gasol's jersey into the rafters <a href="https://t.co/F9snGrHO9o">pic.twitter.com/F9snGrHO9o</a>

Gasol played for the Grizzlies, Lakers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks from 2001-02 until 2018-19 and finished his career with a resume that included two championships, a Rookie of the Year, four All-NBA selections and six All-Star Game nods.

He had already been an All-Star and averaged better than 20 points a night in back-to-back seasons when the Lakers acquired him during the 2007-08 campaign, but playing for a championship contender in Los Angeles gave him a bigger stage to show off his game.

The Spaniard played for the Purple and Gold through the 2013-14 season and averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field during that time.

Gasol was part of a one-two punch with the legendary Kobe Bryant on the Lakers teams that won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. They cruised past the Orlando Magic in five games for that first title and needed the full seven games to outlast the Boston Celtics for the second one.

It was a revenge showing after Boston defeated Los Angeles in the 2008 NBA Finals.

Gasol was brilliant during the Finals win over the Celtics and posted a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds in the decisive Game 7. It was his fifth double-double of the series after he double-doubled in three of the five games while battling Dwight Howard down low in the 2009 Finals.

Those performances with championships hanging in the balance alone made him a Lakers legend, but he has also remained a notable presence in the lives of Bryant's daughters after Kobe died in a 2020 helicopter crash.

Now Gasol's jersey will join his former teammate's jerseys in the rafters honoring Lakers greats.

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