When Pau Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in February 2008, his arrival transformed the team and took it from hopeless mediocrity to joyous championship contention.
In his first three years in Los Angeles, the team reach the NBA Finals each season and captured back-to-back world championships in 2009 and 2010. That success made Gasol a candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and this weekend, he will officially be inducted there.
The Spanish native was asked who, in his opinion, are the 10 greatest players in NBA history, and he responded by including four Lakers in his list (h/t Lakers Daily).
Via Los Angeles Times:
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Stephen Curry,” the Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner revealed is Gasol’s list.
Gasol actually gave 11 names, but it’s notable that he left off Wilt Chamberlain, another former Laker great.
Still, he was extremely fortunate to play six seasons with Bryant, especially at a time when the two needed each other. In 2008, Bryant had recently demanded a trade because he was frustrated that the Lakers hadn’t shown progress years after trading Shaquille O’Neal. Gasol, meanwhile, was stuck on a declining Memphis Grizzlies team that had won just 22 games the season prior.
Needless to say, the Gasol-Bryant pairing was one that was made in heaven.