Pau Gasol 'Got Really Emotional' Rewatching Kobe Bryant in 2010 NBA Finals

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2020

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16:  Kobe Bryant #24 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers enjoy a laugh during the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 16, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Longtime NBA star Pau Gasol said Saturday that he got emotional while recently watching Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years.

According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Gasol said that seeing Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January at the age of 41, took a toll on him:

"I got emotional too, especially towards the end and hearing Kobe speak when he got the MVP trophy and how he acknowledged me. With him being gone, I got really emotional. It just really meant a lot to me. It's one of those things with time that you learn to appreciate things and value things more, what you have gone through, what you have achieved, people you have had in your life, people you have shared special things with."

The 2010 championship was the second of two consecutive titles that Gasol and Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers to, and it took a nerve-wracking 83-79 home win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals to achieve it.

The 39-year-old Gasol is without an NBA team and likely nearing the end of his career, but there is no denying how big of an impact he had during his seven-year run with the Lakers.

Along with Kobe, Gasol helped lead the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Finals, two of which ended with championships. He also earned three of his six career All-Star nods while in L.A.

In addition to seeing Kobe accept the NBA Finals MVP award after the Lakers beat Boston in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals, Gasol mentioned how he saw Lakers owner Jerry Buss, NBA commissioner David Stern, Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen and ESPN's Stuart Scott during the championship celebration, all of whom have since died.

Gasol also caught a glimpse of Bryant's late daughter Gianna, who was among those who died in the January helicopter crash.

While watching the game was emotionally draining, Gasol took some positives out of it as well:

"It was the first time I had watched Game 7 in 10 years and I felt like I was playing the game. I felt like I was in it, like I was there and I was suffering with every missed shot or 'Oh—we're down.' Even though I know the outcome of the game and it has been 10 years. Everyone really did a magnificent job. The fans, they pushed us through that game and they helped us win that championship. It was so much into that."

That 2010 title still stands as the Lakers' most recent championship, and they haven't made it beyond the second round of the playoffs since then. In fact, L.A. hasn't reached the postseason at all since 2013, although that drought will end if the 2019-20 season resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bryant was already a legend and future Hall of Famer before winning championships in 2009 and 2010, but finally doing so without Shaquille O'Neal in the fold cemented his status as one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Gasol was no Shaq, but he played a significant role in helping Kobe get over that hump as well.