Pau Gasol Couldn't Talk to Anyone for Days After Learning of Kobe Bryant's Death

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 13, 2020

TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 14:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Western Conference and Pau Gasol #16 of the Eastern Conference talk before the NBA All-Star Game as part of the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 14, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Tom O'Connor /NBAE via Getty Images)
Tom O'Connor/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol, who won three Western Conference titles and two NBA championships with the team during his six-year tenure in purple and gold, told the Los Angeles Times that he couldn't speak to anyone for days following the death of ex-Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash.

Gasol said he and his wife, Catherine McDonnell, were coming home from a basketball game north of Barcelona when McDonnell heard news from a friend that Bryant had died.

After getting home, Gasol recalled the moments that followed.

"I just started crying, it was hard to find words, I couldn't talk to anyone for days," Gasol said. "The only person I talked to was [Lakers vice president of basketball operations and Bryant's ex-agent Rob Pelinka]."

Gasol, who called Bryant his "brother," played with the 18-time All-Star from 2008-2014 after a midseason trade sent him from the Memphis Grizzlies to L.A.

Bryant and Gasol teamed up and led the Lakers to their first NBA Finals in four years, losing to the Boston Celtics in six games.

The two would guide L.A. to back-to-back titles, however, defeating the Orlando Magic and C's in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

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Gasol and Bryant were also opponents in the Summer Olympics gold medal men's basketball games in 2008 and 2012, with the United States beating Spain both times.

Following Bryant's death, Gasol called Bryant his "big brother" on Twitter:

Bryant was one of nine people who died in the crash.

Bryant's daughter, Gianna; Ara Zobayan; John Altobelli; Keri Altobelli; Alyssa Altobelli; Sarah Chester; Payton Chester and Christina Mauser also died.

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